Who Will Inherit the Queen’s £100 Million Stamp Collection When She Dies?

Queen Elizabeth II is known for her love of racehorses, breeding dogs (she once broke royal protocol to honor her Corgis), and indulging daily in a slice of chocolate cake. But what some may not know about the queen is that she’s a big stamp collector. In fact, she owns a seriously impressive stamp collection experts say is worth £100 million, according to The Telegraph. Keep reading to learn more about her stamp collection and who will likely inherit it upon her death. 

Queen Elizabeth II  in 2016
Queen Elizabeth II | Samir Hussein/WireImage

What is the Royal Philatelic Collection?

As the royal family’s website says, philately is the study of stamps. The Royal Philatelic Collection is the British royal family’s name for the queen’s stamp collection which is made up of hundreds of boxes and albums filled with rare, valuable, and historic stamps. The albums are color-coded by monarch; red for King George V, blue for King George VI, and green for Queen Elizabeth. 

King George V started collecting stamps in the late 1800s when he’d still been the Duke of York, according to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. When he took up the hobby, he enlisted the help of his uncle, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who had originally started the royal stamp collection in 1864.

Over time, King George V became very interested in the hobby. Whenever he visited London, the king reportedly spent up to three afternoons a week working on the collection, once remarking he wanted the best stamp collection not just one of the best.

King George VI looks through stamps with the Curator of the Royal Stamp Collection
King George VI looks through stamps with the Curator of the Royal Stamp Collection | Kurt Hutton/Getty Images

After King George V, King George VI took up the hobby and grew the stamp collection even more. Then came Queen Elizabeth who made it what it is today. 

Where is the queen’s stamp collection stored? 

The collection isn’t housed at Buckingham Palace. Instead, it’s kept in vaults at St. James Palace. However, certain stamps within the collection have gone on display as part of museum exhibitions. 

Prince Charles will likely inherit stamp collection from Queen Elizabeth

As The Sun reported, the queen is the fifth monarch to inherit the royal stamp collection. While we don’t know for sure, if Queen Elizabeth were to keep with royal tradition, she would leave the Royal Philatelic Collection to her oldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales, who is first in the royal family’s line of succession. However, we won’t know who will inherit the stamp collection until the queen’s demise. 

Queen Elizabeth’s ‘loves’ showing her stamp collection to visitors

The queen is said to be partial to giving guests a look at her stamp collection when they stay at Buckingham Palace. 

According to The Sun, royal expert Phil Dampier told Fabulous Digital the queen’s stamp collection is “one of her pride and joys” and she “loves” showing it to visitors. 

Queen Elizabeth II looks at stamps from her royal collection
Queen Elizabeth II looks at stamps | Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images

“The Queen loves showing her stamp collection to visitors, say heads of state who stay at Buckingham Palace,” he said. “It is one of her pride and joys, not only because she owns some of the world’s most valuable stamps, but also because she has built on a family treasure and feels she has done her father and previous monarchs who owned it proud.”