04 Nov 6.6 Billion Acres of Land: Who is the World’s Biggest Landholder?
The biggest landholder in the world owns 6.6 billion acres of land including 25,000 acres of forest, all the gold mines in Scotland, an offshore windfarm and a tidal power plant.
That’s in addition to 15 retail parks and three shopping centres – a total of 4.3 million square feet of retail space.
Surprisingly this landowner has an incredibly small herd of cattle – just one Aberdeen Angus cow in fact. The cow was presented as a gift by the Calgary Stampede agricultural show and remains in Calgary as a founding member of the Stampede’s herd.
Our mystery landowner is, of course, Her Royal Highness the Queen of England.
In addition to her more traditional landholdings, the Queen also owns half of the British shoreline and the UK’s territorial seabed – extending 12 nautical miles from the coast. In 2010, the Thanet Offshore Wind Far was constructed seven miles off the cost of Kent, at the time the largest offshore wind farm in the world. The Crown owns this site in addition to a string of offshore green-energy projects. Europe’s biggest tidal power plant, Pentland Firth is also an asset of Her Maj’s portfolio.
As well as shopping centres, the Queen owns a string of premium heritage real estate including most of Regent Street, The Tower of London (including the crown jewels and a flock of ravens), Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square.
Residentially, the portfolio does not disappoint. The Queen’s primary residence is of course, Buckingham Palace in London, all 775 rooms of it. Other ‘houses’ include Windsor Castle (the world’s largest occupied castle), Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. The Royal family spends Christmas each year at Sandringham Castle, while Balmoral is rumoured to her the Queen’s “favourite summer estate”.
While Her Royal Highness’ cattle holdings may be rather lean, she does make up for it with other livestock collections. Renowned for her love of horses, the Queen has a string of up to 30 hay burners at any one time. Her eye for bloodstock has earned her around $9 million in the last three decades, with 451 race wins to her name.
The Queen was gifted two giant tortoises during a visit to the Seychelles in 1972. Initially they were housed at London Zoo before being rehomed. Not to mind as a statute dating back to 1324 decreed that the king “shall have reck of the sea through the realm, whales and sturgeons taken in the sea or elsewhere within the realm,” meaning that the Queen also owns all the whales, sturgeons, porpoises and dolphins within three miles of the UK coast. She also has her own colony of bats and owns all the swans on the river Thames.
As the head of state of the United Kingdom, the Queen also own 14 overseas territories, and 16 Commonwealth realms, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As the current reigning monarch, she also technically owns the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. Collectively, these are known as the Crown dependencies.
If that’s not enough to keep the Queen busy, she also owns the Royal Box at Wimbledon Tennis Court, 150,000 works of art, a fleet of vehicles worth $10 million, an extensive collection of Fabergé eggs, and the world’s largest clear-cut diamond.
Known as the Great Star of Africa, the diamond is valued at around $51 million.