Jim Ratcliffe, the 64-year-old ‘British chemical engineer turned financier and industrialist’ – and, according to Forbes, is worth around 10 billion dollars – has bought a box in the Royal Albert Hall for £2.76m. There are 849 years remaining on the lease.
That investment doesn’t give him exclusive use however: he will be able to attend about two-thirds of the Hall’s programming.
Box 35 in the Grand Tier is about half way between the back of the hall and the organ, just along from the Royal Box which occupies the position of boxes 27 to 29. It can accommodate ten people.
The Times says that the record-breaking price, (in 2013 it was acquired for £1.25m), will increase the value of the 1,265 seats owned by individuals and companies, which amounts to a quarter of the Hall’s total capacity. The Royal Albert Hall has charity status. 145 seats are owned by the charity’s trustees and are now likely to be worth more than £20m.
The Charity Commission said it had “serious concerns” about how the charity is run.