Value of Queen's private estate increases by £25m

The Queen
Image caption The surplus the Queen receives is used to fund the monarch's public and private activities

The value of the Queen's private estate has recovered with an increase of £25m, royal accounts show.

The Duchy of Lancaster's portfolio of land, property and assets held in trust for the sovereign saw its value rise 8% to £348m in the financial year 2009-10.

That contrasts with a fall of £75m, almost a fifth, the previous year.

The net surplus the Queen received from the duchy, used to fund the monarch's public and private activities, stayed about the same at £13.26m.

'Better times'

The value of agricultural, residential and commercial property increased by £44m to £324m, and the worth of financial investments was up just over £10m to £53m.

Costs and other liabilities saw the overall figure fall to £348 million.

Duchy chief executive Paul Clarke said: "With a prudent approach to investment, it is my strong belief that we can weather the current economic uncertainties and prepare for better times ahead.

"We have experienced a rebound in capital values over the last year but the challenge is to maintain the current income levels. Inactivity is not an option."

The Duchy of Lancaster is responsible for 18,700 hectares in England and Wales, including urban developments, historic buildings, farmland and areas of natural beauty.

The cost to the taxpayer of the Royal Family fell to 62p per person in the UK last year - a drop of 7p, according to Buckingham Palace accounts.

The total cost of keeping the monarchy decreased by £3.3m (7.9%) to £38.2m during the 2009-10 financial year.

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