The British monarch leaves behind one of the biggest private collection of jewels in the world. Which royal will be their inheritor?

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the members of the British royal family now stand to gain more than just new titles. Throughout her 70-year reign, the British monarch amassed an estimated personal fortune of over US$500 million—which her oldest son, now christened King Charles III, will inherit.

Queen Elizabeth’s exorbitant wealth can be credited to her diverse portfolio of personal assets, including her investments, real estate holdings (most notable are the castles Sandringham House and the Balmoral Castle, where she died), art collection and, of course, her jewels.

Read more: In Pictures: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II

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Queen Elizabeth II, 1980. (Photo by John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)
Above (Photo: Getty Images)

The late ruler boasted one of the most impressive—and expensive—collection of jewels in the world, comprising historic tiaras, brooches, necklaces, and rings that date all the way back to the reign of Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother.

On top of her personal jewellery collection, Queen Elizabeth also had access to the Crown Jewels, which is estimated to be worth US$3.48 billion in total.

Those priceless jewellery assets would make an even richer man out of King Charles, whose own private wealth was estimated to be US$100 million before his mother’s death.

Below, we take a closer look at the fate of Queen Elizabeth’s jewels.

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The Crown Jewels

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A portrait of young Elizabeth II (1926- ) of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, wearing the crown of the kings and queens of England for her coronation in June of 1953. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Above Queen Elizabeth wears the St. Edward’s Crown for her coronation in 1953. (Photo: Getty Images)

The royal ceremonial objects pieces that make up the Crown Jewels, which are kept at the Tower of London, belonged to Queen Elizabeth II—but only symbolically.

In fact, the collection, which dates back to the 1600s, is considered to be England’s royal treasures; they belong to the institution of the British monarchy itself. The ownership of the Crown Jewels will go to the present monarch in the right of the Crown—in this case, King Charles III.

The Crown Jewels comprises over 100 objects, most of which are coronation regalia that are used during royal ceremonies. The most significant piece is St. Edward’s Crown, which was crafted in 1661 from over two kilograms of gold and embellished with 444 gemstones including rubies, sapphires and topazes. It was last used in Queen Elizabeth II’s crowning ceremony in 1953. Although it will never be sold, the crown is valued at around US$36 million.

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The Queen during the 1966 State Opening of Parliament. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Above Queen Elizabeth wears the Imperial State Crown at the 1966 State Opening of Parliament. (Photo: Getty Images)
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Queen Elizabeth II After Her Coronation
Above Queen Elizabeth also carried the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and the Sovereign’s Orb after her coronation ceremony. (Photo: Getty Images)

Other priceless pieces that make up the Crown Jewels include the Imperial State Crown, crafted for coronation of King George VI in 1937; the Jewelled Sword of Offering from 1820, which would be worth around US$660 million today; and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross dating back to 1661, which features the 530-carat Cullinan I diamond—the largest colourless cut diamond in the world.

The Royal Collection

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Above Stuart Coronation ring (Photo: Royal Collection Trust)
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Above Parure with necklace, brooch and earrings (Photo: Royal Collection Trust)

Just as the Crown Jewels belong to the monarch of the time, The Royal Collection of art and jewellery has also been passed to King Charles III.

This includes the Gem and Jewels, a collection of 277 precious objects such as cameos, intaglios, jewels and medieval gems that are kept at Windsor Castle. Like the Crown Jewels, these historic pieces are essentially priceless and unlikely to ever be sold. They were first publicly showcased at the Victorian and Albert Museum—formerly known as the South Kensington Museum—in 1862.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Personal Jewels and Tiaras

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LONDON - OCTOBER 25: (NO UK SALES FOR 28 DAYS):  Camilla Duchess of Cornwall arrives in Royal heirloom diamond tiara, necklace and earrings, at a banquet in Buckingham Palace on October 25, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)
Above Camilla, formerly Duchess of Cornwall and now Queen Consort, wore the Delhi Durbar Tiara in 2005. (Photo: Getty Images)

Made up of Queen Elizabeth’s personal purchases, gifts she received, or heirlooms that she inherited, this collection of jewels is one that that King Charles III is not automatically entitled to.

Many of her famous tiaras also fall under this collection. There’s the Delhi Durbar Tiara, made for Queen Mary in 1911 and is now one of the largest tiaras in Queen Elizabeth II’s collection. While she never wore the jewel herself, Queen Elizabeth did loan it to her daughter-in-law, Camilla, who is now known as the Queen Consort. It’s likely that the late monarch has handed it down to Camilla in her will. It’s estimated to be worth US$9.88 million.

In case you missed it: Why Princess Beatrice Wore Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Tiara At Her Wedding

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HONG KONG - NOVEMBER 10:  (NOT FOR MAGAZINE COVER USE IN GERMANY BETWEEN 15 August and 31 August 2007) Princess Of Wales In Hong Kong Wearing A Pearl And Diamond Tiara Which Was A Wedding Gift From The Queen.  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Above Princess Diana in the Lover’s Knot Tiara, one of her favourite jewels. (Photo: Getty Images)
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LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:   Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge greets guests at an evening reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace on December 04, 2018 in London, England. Approximately 7,500 military personnel are currently serving overseas at Christmas.  (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Above Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wore the Lover’s Knot Tiara for a Diplomatic Corps reception in 2018. (Photo: Getty Images)

Another noteworthy diadem is Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara, which Queen Elizabeth II gifted to Princess Diana for her wedding. It was a beloved jewel of the princess, but she returned it to her mother-in-law after her divorce from then Prince Charles. The tiara is now a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and will add at least US$1 million to her fortune if she inherits it.

The Duchess might also be passed the Cartier Halo Tiara, estimated to be worth US$1.7 million, as she had worn it as “something borrowed” on her royal wedding to Prince Williams.


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LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  Her Royal Highness Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge journeys by carriage procession to Buckingham Palace following her marriage to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England. The marriage of the second in line to the British throne was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and was attended by 1900 guests, including foreign Royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world have also flocked to Lo
Above Kate Middleton borrowed Queen Elizabeth’s Cartier Halo Tiara for her royal wedding to Prince William in 2011. (Photo: Getty Images)

For now, though, Queen Elizabeth II’s personal collection of jewels are on display at the Buckingham Palace for the exhibition, Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession. The late royal’s prized possessions will be showcased to the public until October 2, before they are passed down.

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