The value of the Crown Estate has fallen by 1.3 billion pounds over the past year as the recession hit the collection of forests, harbours, fast-food shops and trading estates owned by the Queen.
According to the annual report of Crown Estate, its net assets are valued at 6.01 billion pounds at the end of March this year compared with 7.33 billion pounds the year before. It is the first time in 16 years that the Crown Estate has dropped in value.
The fall in value -- down 18 per cent -- is mostly because it owns swaths of commercial property, business parks and shopping centres, many of which have struggled in the downturn.
The Crown Estate owns one of the most famous retail sites in the world -- the former Tower Records store on Piccadilly Circus, London [ Images ]. The premises were rented by Zavvi until the music retailer went into administration at the end of last year and the site is now empty.
It also owns 400 commercial properties, including a McDonald's in Slough and a Debenhams department store in Worcester.