The frugal Queen’s most extravagant expense

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent

The Queen may have an estimated worth of around £360 million, but she is known for being quite frugal, except when it comes to one hobby.

“The Queen is famously frugal but her one extravagance is horses, she’s a great lover of the turf,” royal finances expert David McClure tells Yahoo UK’s ‘The Royal Box.’

The monarch, who is set to turn 93 this month, has had a keen interest in horses from an early age.

As a child, Elizabeth was given her first horse, a Shetland pony named Peggy, at age 4. By the age of 18 she was an accomplished rider, and has continued to ride for pleasure. 

The Queen has had a keen interest in horses from a young age [Photo: Getty]

Her Majesty has been an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds since the 1950s, having initially inherited the breeding and racing stock of her late father King George VI. She also annually attends the Derby at Epsom and Royal Ascot

READ MORE: The Queen posts her first Instagram photo at the age of 92

Mr McClure, author of ‘Royal Legacy’, says: “This is quite an expensive hobby. At one stage she had about a string of about 20 thoroughbred horses, she had three studs, she had stables and it was estimated, that I think in around about 2000, it was costing about £600,000 a year just to run that.

“I’m sure the stud probably breaks even, but the normal sort of horse racing venture doesn’t, so it probably is a drain on the private purse.”

A then Princess Elizabeth with one of her horses, in around 1940 [Photo: Getty]

The majority of the Queen’s wealth comes from The Duchy of Lancaster. This is a private estate of commercial, agricultural and residential properties that generated £20.2m ($26.7m) in income during the last fiscal year.

The Queen uses this money to pay for official and private expenses. It is also used to cover costs incurred by her royal family members when they undertake official engagements on her behalf.