Buccleuch's true wealth revealed as will discloses £320m fortune

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THE Duke of Buccleuch, Europe's biggest landowner who died earlier this year at his Borders home, has left £320m in his will.

The amount puts the duke, who was 83, on a par with the Queen and is around four times the wealth he has previously admitted to.

When his personal fortune was calculated by The Sunday Times Rich List 10 years ago at 300m, he protested the figure was far too high and that he should have been rated alongside film legend Sir Sean Connery. The actor is estimated to be worth 85m.

The bulk of his personal wealth will be inherited by his heir, Richard, who became the 10th Duke of Buccleuch on his father's death three months ago.

The new duke, 54, will ultimately inherit Leonardo Da Vinci's Madonna And The Yarnwinder, valued at 50m and which was recently recovered after being stolen four years ago from one of the Buccleuch family properties.

He will also get masterpieces by Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Canaletto and Holbein, as well as 1.6m in shares and woodlands worth 1.3m. He will also take control of the 224m Buccleuch Heritage Trust, comprising jewellery, furniture and artworks on his mother's death.

The dowager duchess receives 200,000 and the choice of a Ford Focus or an Audi estate. The ninth duke's younger children - Lord John, Lord Darian Scott and Lady Charlotte Anne - will receive 50,000 each.

Philip Beresford, editor of the Rich List, disclosed that the ninth duke often corresponded with him to attempt to push estimates of his wealth down. The duke died in September at his estate at Bowhill, near Selkirk. The last Rich List placed his wealth at 85m, making him the 51st richest person in Scotland and 798th in the UK.

After a society wedding in 1953, he later became a Tory MP. He fractured his spine in a riding accident in 1972 and spent much of his later life confined to a wheelchair.

His last few years were marred by the theft of his 16th-century Da Vinci from Drumlanrig Castle in 2003. The painting was recovered in October, weeks after his death. Five men have since been charged.