Old Money: God Save the Queen's Assets

SAN FRANCISCO (01/26/2000) - Perhaps alarmed by the dot-com mob invading the rich list, Queen Elizabeth II has invested part of her estimated $400 million fortune in a British Internet startup.

The royal family hasn't survived for some 1,000 years by being reckless, though. Her Majesty's baby step into the volatile Net market is a $166,000 investment in the privately held Millennium Mapping, which offers downloadable aerial U.K. maps. The Sunday Times estimated last year that Elizabeth was 87th on its list of richest Britons, tied with a former bookie. Meanwhile, the country's top Net millionaire, 30-year-old ISP magnate Charles Nasser, was worth an estimated $240 million last fall.

If this first investment is a hit, Her Majesty may want to give it another go.

But many of her assets, including the Crown Jewels, can't be liquefied. The government would forbid it, even if she needed cash to buy the next Microsoft at 10 pence a share.

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