Turning 95 on Wednesday will hardly be the birthday Queen Elizabeth II had hoped for due to the recent death of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, amid turmoil inside the royal family.
But she might at least take comfort from the knowledge her personal brand is bigger than that of American billionaire Oprah Winfrey.
The UK monarch, born on April 21, 1926, has three times the global reach of the 67-year-old media maven, who conducted last month’s bombshell interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in which they alleged racism at Buckingham Palace.
Numbers crunched by German research platform Statistica for True Royalty TV found the head of the British state was not only more talked about than Oprah, but her brand recognition also exceeded the profile of Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Bill Gates and the Obamas.
The on-demand service also discovered that, despite the damage wrought by her second son, Prince Andrew, through his links to the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, she had grown The House of Windsor into the world’s fifth-biggest “corporate” brand ahead of multi-nationals such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Ferrari and Microsoft.
Referring to the embattled nonagenarian as “the world’s longest-standing and most successful CEO,” Nick Bullen, co-founder and editor-in-chief of True Royalty TV, said she had “built the British monarchy into one of the world’s biggest brands.”
Experts featured on the channel’s new documentary “Elizabeth at 95: The Invincible Queen,” estimated that, were the institution nicknamed “The Firm” a regular firm, the business would be valued at a whopping $100 billion.
Interviewed for the special, David Haigh, CEO of the brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, said “that puts it as the UK’s most valuable brand” — above oil corporation Shell and retailer Marks & Spencer thanks to interests spanning real estate, agriculture and financial investments.
Meanwhile, as its top executive for nearly 70 years, the queen has a likely value herself of around $50 billion — or $10 billion more than Coca-Cola.
Her personal wealth stands at around $560 million, derived from private country estates such as Balmoral and Sandringham, as well as vast collections of jewels, paintings and even stamps.
Despite calls for it to end after she passes away, Britain benefits from the monarchy too, with some estimates placing the brand’s annual contribution to the UK economy at around $2.37 billion, mostly due to tourism.
And, somewhat surprisingly given the Prince Andrew scandal and fierce criticism from those California transplants, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, experts believe the queen has handled her PR with flying colors.
Historian and author Kate Williams told the True Royalty TV documentary the monarch’s “firing” of Prince Andrew by ordering him to step down from royal duties was the equivalent of “taking disciplinary action.”
Meanwhile Alastair Campbell, the former communications director for Prime Minister Tony Blair who handled the royal family’s response to Princess Diana’s death in 1997, praised the matriarch for her measured reaction to the accusations by her fourth-born grandson and his American wife.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said the issues — among them, the assertion by Markle that she had considered suicide following her marriage and the pair’s claim a “senior royal” had speculated about the skin color of their future offspring — were “concerning” and taken “very seriously.”
The sting in the tail, however, was the somewhat defensive assertion that “recollections may vary.”
“That 300-word statement was pitch perfect, for what she [the queen] was trying to do” noted Campbell. “’Recollections may vary,’ was brilliant.”