10 FEBRUARY 2003
The Queen's throne has been stolen, it seems, thanks to the efforts of the world's beer drinkers. The head of the royal family has lost her title as Britain's richest woman to Charlene de Carvalho, heiress to the Heineken brewing empire.
According to a survey of Britain's richest 100 people, Queen Elizabeth no longer weighs in as the state's wealthiest female, after Charlene inherited the legacy left by her father Freddie Heineken, who died last January.
When he passed away, his 48-year-old daughter took control of the entire family fortune along with the well-known Dutch brewing company. As a result, her wealth is now estimated at £2.85 billion, leaving other wealthy British women like Paloma Picasso and JK Rowling in the shade.
Indeed Charlene has taken second place overall in the top 100 rich list, making her the highest ranked woman ever. But despite her enormous wealth, she couldn't keep up with Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, who took the top spot with an estate of £3.3 billion.
If you haven't heard of Charlene before, it's because she likes to keep a very low profile. After a kidnapping attempt in the Eighties, the mother-of-five decided it was best to stay out of the public eye. She lives in London with her merchant banker husband Michel.