After ascending to the throne on 8 September 2022, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles inherited more than a position.
The 73-year-old monarch is now the leader of a multi-billion dollar real estate portfolio that includes property in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Romania. The entire collection consists of palaces, castles, cottages, and ancient ruins, some of which serve as royal residences for King Charles and his wife Camilla, Queen Consort.
While many of these properties are known as the world's best homes, it is important to note that some of these estates are not used as domestic spaces by the King. The majority of the land in this portfolio is, in fact, owned by the Crown Estate, the Duchy of Lancaster, and the Duchy of Cornwall, meaning they are held 'in right of the Crown (opens in new tab)' throughout King Charles' reign.
Other homes are kept 'in trust' by the monarchy itself (for those who will succeed King Charles), and some are held by two foundations that the King had formally established.
King Charles' property portfolio – the 10 most expensive estates
King Charles and Camilla currently reside in Clarence House in London and Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, South West England. However, while these two homes are certainly beautiful, they are not among the ten most expensive properties owned by the Crown.
An investigation by Forbes (opens in new tab) revealed Clarence House is worth an estimated $72 million, while Highgrove is now worth approximately $39 million. The King's holiday cottages in Romania are worth an estimated $1.1 million each. Here, we explore the ten most expensive estates in the portfolio.
1. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, perhaps the most famous royal estate of all, is also the most expensive – with an estimated value of $4.9 billion, according to Forbes.
A move to the British landmark would be in keeping with tradition; however, King Charles is expected to decide against moving into Buckingham Palace and remain in Clarence House when staying in London.
The billion-dollar property has served as the official home of British monarchs since 1837 and continues to act as a place for the family to host dignitaries and other heads of state. It has a remarkable 775 rooms, consisting of 19 Staterooms, 52 bedrooms, and 78 bathrooms.
2. Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court may now be best associated with its eponymously named flower show, held annually by the RHS. However, this estate has seen its share of historical events over the centuries.
The palace – which is worth an estimated $1.2 billion – was King Henry VIII's most-used residence, and he lived there with all six of his wives during his 38-year reign. The estate is found 12 miles southwest of central London, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames – so it is unsurprising that the palace welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Remnants of King Henry VIII's reign are still visible, such as his extensive art collection, are visible to visitors today. It is, however, one of only two palaces (out of the many owned by King Henry VIII) that have survived to this day.
3. Tower of London
The Tower of London, worth approximately $1.1 billion, has a history that dates back to the late 11th century after it was built by William the Conqueror. Since then, it has become best associated as an execution site and is, most famously, the site of Anne Boleyn's death.
Today, the castle is the home of Crown Jewels (worth an estimated $4 billion), including the coronation regalia and vestments worn by British monarchs. The site is also home to the 'Yeomen Warders; and their families, the Resident Governor, and a garrison of soldiers who patrol the site in uniform.
4. Windsor Castle
The final resting place of Queen Elizabeth II, Windsor Castle, is worth approximately £743 million, making it the fifth most expensive property on the list.
Windsor is the largest inhabited castle in the world, following its completion in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, the same monarch who built the Tower of London. The impressive estate has been home to 40 monarchs, including the late Queen, who counted it as one of her favorite residences.
Today the castle is still used as a residence for the royal family, despite many rooms being open to the public. It is expected to be the future home of Willam and Catherine, the Prince and Princess of Wales.
5. St James's Palace
Princess Anne's London home, St James's Palace, is worth an estimated $700 million, so what does that price tag include?
Alongside its history (it was significantly the home of Elizabeth I during the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1558), the palace has an enviable postcode in the heart of Westminster in the British capital. The property overlooks Green Park and St. James's Park, two of the eight royal parks in the capital held by the Crown, and is conveniently close to the Mall and Buckingham Palace.
St James's Palace has gained ever-growing recognition in recent decades, as it was where representatives from 14 nations met to establish the United Nations. However, most recently, it was the setting of the ceremony in which King Charles III was officially proclaimed Britain's new sovereign on September 9th, 2022.
6. Lancaster Castle
Lancaster Castle (also known as John O’ Gaunt’s Castle) is described as an 'ancient inheritance' that began 750 years ago in 1265. The estate, which is worth $674, has had a diverse history, having served as a Roman fort, a Medevial place of punishment, and a prison. It was, however, converted into a tourist attraction in 2011.
The castle overlooks the northern town of Lancaster and the River Lune, where it has famously stood as a 'bastion against the marauding forces of the ancient Picts and Scots tribes' for centuries.
7. Kensington Palace
The Prince and Princess of Wales's historic family home, Kensington Palace, has an estimated worth of $630 million.
While William and Catherine are expected to move into Windsor Castle (and they have recently set roots in Adelaide Cottage in Berkshire), the couple and their family are best associated with the palace that houses Apartment 1A, their London base.
King Charles III also lived in the palace in Chelsea, London, with Diana, Princess of Wales, during their marriage. Lady Diana continued to live in the residence until her death in 1997, and she is remembered by a statue in the gardens.
8. Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle is the only estate outside of England to make the top 10. Located in Gwynedd, Wales, the (estimated) $289 million property has towered above the port town since King Edward I ordered its construction in 1283.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which sits on the banks of the River River Seiont, was where Charles was given the title of the 'Prince of Wales' in 1969, but we expect it will only be a matter of time before he visits the country's 'most famous castle' as King.
9. Banqueting House
Back in London, the aptly-named Banqueting House is the ninth most expensive structure – worth an estimated $296 million. This 'architectural genre of banqueting house' was designed as an elaborate entertaining space in the Palace of Whitehall, where monarchs lived between 1530 to 1698.
English architect Inigo Jones designed the house in 1619, and today, it is the only surviving part of Whitehall Palace, following a large fire in 1698.
10. Eltham Palace
Eltham Palace in Eltham in southeast London is the tenth most expensive property in King Charles' property portfolio, with an estimated price tag of $211 million. The estate marries quintessential Tudor architecture with Art Deco decorating ideas after it served as a millionaire's home in the 1930s.
Though the home is now owned by the Crown, it had a period owned by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, who were searching for a semi-rural property that was convenient for the capital. They took a 99-year lease from the Crown. The couple resided in the Eltham during most of the Second World War when they fitted out the basement as a comfortable bomb shelter.
Since then, the Army Educational Corps and English Heritage (the most recent successor to the Ministry of Works) took over the home. Today, visitors can explore the restored 1930s-style home and learn more while learning more about Eltham's fascinating history.
Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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