THE Crown Estate, as the name suggests, is the land, buildings and the sea bed that are owned by the Queen in her “corporate” role, meaning that while she doesn’t actually own it personally, the reigning monarch of the time does.

Forgetting the fact that large chunks of real estate – total value £13 billion and rising – were acquired by previous kings and queens through somewhat dodgy means, such as executing their opponents and seizing their lands, or kicking out clergy in a “church grab”, the Crown Estate also owns by ancient law all the sea bed around the island of Great Britain for 12 miles out from land.

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Until the reign of King George III, the Crown used to pick up the tabs for defence and running the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland and in turn the income from Crown lands went to the monarch.

George being not mad being and saddled with debts, he passed the Crown revenues to the Treasury in return for the Civil List paying Royal expenses. That system worked until 2012 when the Civil List was abolished and the monarch was given a “sovereign grant” linked to the Crown Estate’s revenues.

The SNP campaigned to get Scottish Crown Estate revenues allocated to Scotland and that is now the case – except for Fort Kinnaird, the mother of all Money Grabs.