Having ripped through the high street and emptied offices, the pandemic is now threatening the Queen’s coffers.
The Crown Estate said on Friday that it expected the value of its property and its profits to be badly hit by the coronavirus crisis.
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“We are under no illusions about the challenges we face,” said Dan Labbad, chief executive of the estate, which manages a sprawling property portfolio on behalf of the monarch including shops and offices in central London, retail parks in other regions and the seabed off the English, Welsh and Northern Irish coastline.
The warning came as the company announced its results for the 12 months to March 31, reporting record profit of ￡345 million, ($588 million) up from ￡343.5 million a year earlier.
In normal circumstances its profits are returned to the Treasury, which then allocates a “sovereign grant” to the Queen. The grant goes towards maintaining various palaces and official residences and in recent years has been set at a quarter of the estate’s annual profits.