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Top 10 most frequently asked questions
Who owns The Crown Estate?
The Crown Estate belongs to the reigning monarch 'in right of The Crown', that is, it is owned by the monarch for the duration of their reign, by virtue of their accession to the throne. But it is not the private property of the monarch - it cannot be sold by the monarch, nor do revenues from it belong to the monarch.
The Government also does not own The Crown Estate. It is managed by an independent organisation - established by statute - headed by a Board (also known as The Crown Estate Commissioners), and the surplus revenue from the estate is paid each year to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation's finances.
How did The Crown Estate come into being?
Although the ownership of some property can be traced back to Edward the Confessor, the estate as a whole essentially dates from the time of the Norman Conquest.
In 1760, George III reached an agreement with the Government over the estate. The Crown Lands would be managed on behalf of the Government and the surplus revenue would go to the Treasury. In return the King would receive a fixed annual payment - what later became known as the Civil List.
Today, The Crown Estate operates under the auspices of the Crown Estate Act of 1961, which declares that the estate shall be managed by a Board who have a duty to maintain and enhance the value of the estate and the return obtained from it, but with due regard to the requirements of good management.
What is The Crown Estate's relationship with the Treasury?
The Treasury are effectively the principal Government stakeholder for The Crown Estate. They are kept informed of the estate's overall business plans and strategies, although responsibility for the management of the estate rests with the Board.
The Crown Estate is formally accountable to Parliament to which it reports annually.
How does the Sovereign Grant Act affect The Crown Estate?
The Sovereign Grant Act became law in 2011.
The Act does not affect the managerial or operational functions of The Crown Estate or the way they are performed. We will continue to give our entire annual surplus (net profit) to the Treasury. The Act simply provides a mechanism that will be used by the Treasury to determine the amount of Government funding for the Monarch by reference to the amount of our annual surplus.
Does The Crown Estate manage the Royal Palaces?
No. The royal residences are divided into two categories:
1) Occupied Royal Palaces
Administered by the Royal Household and held in trust for future generations, e.g. Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. For further information, please visit:
2) Private Estates
Her Majesty The Queen's private possessions handed down from previous generations, e.g. Balmoral and Sandringham. The Historic Royal Palaces agency administers the palaces that are no longer in official use and are open to the public, e.g. Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. For further information, please visit:
Does The Crown Estate manage the Royal Parks?
Windsor Great Park is the only 'Royal Park' that is managed by The Crown Estate. All other Royal Parks are administered by The Royal Parks. Please visit:
Is the Royal Family involved in the running of The Crown Estate?
No. The Crown Estate is run by a Board (The Crown Estate Commissioners) and their staff.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was the Ranger of Windsor Great Park, although daily issues are dealt with by the Deputy Ranger on the Windsor estate.
Is there any relationship between The Crown Estate and the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster?
No. The two Duchies are completely separate organisations and operate under their own statutes.
What is 'Crown land'?
This is a phrase often used to cover a variety of different properties such as:
- Land belonging to The Queen as monarch
- The Queen's private property
- Properties of the Duchies
- Government land
All of these definitions are partly correct, but naturally it can be somewhat confusing. To avoid this, we always refer to our property and land as being 'The Crown Estate'.
What is Old Land Revenue Property?
Old Land Revenue Property is property that has been occupied by the Ministry of Defence or another government department since before 1702 (when by Act of Parliament the responsibility for the armed forces was changed from the Sovereign to the Government). When such property is no longer required by the Ministry of Defence or other government department it returns to the management of The Crown Estate.
Notable examples include Chester and Dover castles, which are both now managed by English Heritage.
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