London’s Buckingham Palace is more than just the home of Britain's queen – it’s also the most expensive home in the world, with a price tag of $1.55bn (although it’s not for sale).
But this isn’t the only home with an exceptionally high value – across the world, billionaires have either been buying up the properties left over by royals or investing in the creation of new ones.
According to CompareCamp.com, the below are the most expensive five properties in the world, and their owners are an impressive bunch. Unsurprisingly, two of the properties are in London – a city infamous for its sky-rocketing house prices. New York and the south of France also appear on the list.
1. BUCKINGHAM PALACE
Value: $1.55bn (£1bn)
Location: City of Westminster, London
Description: with 775 rooms, it would be easy to get lost in this palace. There are 532 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff rooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. It’s not just the size that put this home in first place, though – it’s also in one of the most expensive parts of London.
Owner: The Queen of England. It wasn’t originally intended as a residence for the country’s monarch, however – in 1703, it was built as a private “large townhouse” for the Duke of Buckingham.
Value: $1bn (£0.64bn)
Location: Mumbai, India
Description: Named after a mythical island in the Atlantic, this 27-story building looks like it’s still under construction, but it’s not – it’s completely finished and fully furnished. It has an area of 400,000 square feet and houses six underground parking floors, along with three helicopter pads.
There was initially some controversy over the construction of this building, since the land on which it sits was originally allocated for the education of underprivileged children.
Owner: This unusual construction was the brainchild of Mukesh Ambani – an Indian billionaire who is also India’s richest man with a net worth of $23.6bn. He is the owner of the country’s second most valuable company, Reliance Industries. The firm deals in oil, refining, petrochemicals and gas.
3. VILLA LEOPOLDA
Value: $750m (£483m)
Location: Cote D’Azure, France
Description: The estate, which featured in the 1955 Hitchcock classis To Catch a Thief, extends over 50 acres. It includes a swimming pool, pool house, outdoor kitchen, helipad and a huge greenhouse.
It was originally built as of the many homes of the mistress of Belgian King Leopold II (not sure what his wife would have had to say about this). But the mistress was evicted after the king’s death in 1909.
Owner: Brazilian philanthropist Lily Sarfa currently owns this property. She is the widow of Lebanese banker Edmond Safra, who died when their home in Monaco burned down.
There is dispute over what caused the fire – a bodyguard of the couple was sent to prison for eight years for arson, but he still denies that he intended to kill Safra.
4. FOUR FAIRFIELD POND
Value: $284.5m (£183.2)
Location: Sagaponack, New York
Description: Spread across 63 acres of land, this property is so large it has its own power plant. The main living area is a dream for anyone interested in playing sports – there are squash courts, tennis courts, three swimming pools, a basketball court and a bowling alley. It’s also great for huge dinner parties – there’s a 91-foot long dining room, and 39 bathrooms so there’s never a queue of gueests.
Owner: American investor Ira Rennert is the owner of this sprawling mansion. He is also owner of the Renco Group – a holding company with investments in auto manufacturing and smelting.
5. 18-19 KENSINGTON PALACE GARDENS
Value: $222m (£143m)
Location: Kensington, London
Description: Practically next door to Kensington Palace itself – the home of Prince William and Kate – this particular pad on “billionaire’s row” houses 12 bedrooms, Turkish baths, an indoor pool and 20 parking spaces.
Owner: Lakshimi Mittal, one of the hundred richest men in India, is head of Arcelor Mittal – the world’s largest steel manufacturer.