LONDON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Britain's beloved Queen Mum overspent her income while she was alive and left millions of pounds in debts at her death.
Queen Elizabeth, called the Queen Mother to distinguish her from her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, never carried money or did her own shopping and had little idea how much things cost, the Daily Mail reported. She preferred to drink Krug champagne, owned racehorses and bought paintings.
A letter written in 1926 when the Queen Mum was Duchess of York shows a lifetime of extravagant habits, the newspaper said. Writing to the court dressmaker, the duchess expressed concern about the cost of her dresses. Admirers say the letter shows she was worried about overspending. Others believe she was trying to get the dressmaker to knock the price down.
By the end of her life, Elizabeth's income from the Civil List was almost $1.3 million a year. Her daughter and her grandson, Prince Charles, quietly helped her out.
Her financial situation became more tangled as her longtime treasurer grew older. By the time of her death in 2002, Elizabeth owed $14 million.