‘Cars, corgis and castles’: the weird and wonderful things Queen Elizabeth II owns

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The Collection belongs to the reigning monarch and it cannot be sold by the king or queen on the throne. The Royal Collection also includes the Crown Jewels, which are kept at the Tower of London.  

The Jewel House boasts an impressive arrangement of “sacred and ceremonial” regalia, consisting of no less than 142 items (studded with 23,578 polished gemstones) making up the globally renowned Crown Jewels.

Animals 

Swans

The Queen owns all unmarked mute swans in open water in England and Wales – although she only exercises this right on certain stretches of the Thames and its surrounding tributaries. She shares ownership of the birds with the Worshipful Company of Vintners and the Worshipful Company of Dyers in an arrangement that dates back to the 15th century.

Every July, a swan census is conducted in a process called “Swan Upping” when swans are caught, ringed and released so that the Queen can find out just how many swans she can claim ownership of.

In 2021, it was reported that Swan Upping took place on the River Thames between Eton Bridge, Berkshire, and Moulsford, Oxfordshire. It found that the cygnet count was 115 – up from 93 in 2019.

Whales, sturgeons and porpoises 

UK law stipulates that the reigning monarch owns whales, sturgeons and porpoises within three miles of Britain’s shore. 

It was enshrined in a statute from 1324, during the reign of King Edward II, which stated: “The king shall have wreck of the sea throughout the realm, whales and sturgeons taken in the sea or elsewhere within the realm, except in certain places privileged by the king.” 

That law still stands today so if you accidentally catch one, you must first contact Buckingham Place and offer it to the Queen as a gesture of loyalty. 

The Queen also used to own the bulk of Scotland’s wild marine life as well but this is now owned by Marine Scotland.

Dogs

The Queen has owned more than 30 canines in her lifetime including corgis, black Labradors and cocker spaniels. In March 2021, she was gifted two new corgi puppies whose names and gender have been kept secret. They are now by the monarch’s side alongside her corgi-dachshund cross called Candy.

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