New Book: Queen owns all UK freehold & much more

Tony Gosling tony at
Mon Nov 20 18:49:42 GMT 2006

This message also has an image file attached which is of a modelling
session for Vogue Magazine which was shot at a UK Ecovillage for the
November Vogue UK - see if you can guess where the picture was taken??

Forget your mortgage lender, it's the Queen who has the first claim on your
By Laura Collins - Mail on Sunday - Sunday 13th November 2006

IT MAY come as a surprise to many, but the Queen today presides over an
empire on which the sun never sets with as much certainty as her great
-great -grandmother Victoria.
Queen Elizabeth II is the Earth's largest landowner, with legal title to
more than one-sixth of the planet's surface - including every square inch
of Britain.

That is the startling claim made by investigative journalist and financial
writer Kevin Cahill in his forthcoming book Who Owns the World: The Hidden
Facts Behind Landownership. In it, Mr Cahill concludes: 'The Queen owns the
ground beneath everyone's feet.' He says: 'A lot of people will be amazed
to know they don't own the land they inhabit. The Queen is the sole legal
owner of land in Britain.'

Mr Cahill's book, the first ever published on land ownership worldwide, is
the result of five years' research, studying government documents across
the globe. He discloses that the Queen's property portfolio - which
includes the 32 countries and territories over which she reigns and the 53
Commonwealth nations - adds up to a dizzying 9,910 million acres.

In Britain, the notion of the Monarch's legal ownership dates back to
William the Conqueror but can be found enshrined in current law - it formed
part of the explanatory notes to the Land Registration Act 2002.

They state: 'The Crown is the only absolute owner of land in England and
Wales: all others hold an estate in land. Estates, which derive from feudal
terms of tenure, originally took many forms but were reduced by the Law of
Property Act 1925 to two, an estate in fee simple "freehold" - and an
estate for a term of years - "leasehold".'
Fee simple is a medieval term for the sum paid to represent the fact that
freehold is a tenancy, with the Monarch the ultimate landowner.

The last time a Monarch exercised ownership rights was during the Second
World War, when 11 million acres of British farmland was seconded for the
Armed Forces. But the Queen cannot sell off the land beneath her 'subjects'
feet without an Act of Parliament.

However, this 'legal ownership' is not to be confused with private
ownership. The land owned by the Queen as Mrs Elizabeth Windsor is, while
still vast, modest by comparison to her majestic 'empire'. In this capacity
she owns approximately 637,000 acres of Britain - land that has, today, a
notional value of £4,600million.

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