“[Royal wills] It’s hidden, so we have no idea what’s inside and what’s worth, and it was never made public,” Laura Clancy, a lecturer in media at Lancaster University and author of a book on royal finances, told CNN Business.
The line of succession makes Prince William, now first in line to the British throne, a much richer man.
The future king inherits the private estate of the Duchy of Cornwall from his father. The duchy has a sprawling portfolio of land and property covering nearly 140,000 acres, mostly in southwest England.
The property was established in 1337 by King Edward III, and is worth about 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion), according to his calculations for the last financial year.
Its website says the proceeds from the estate are “used to fund the public, private and charitable activities” of the Duke of Cornwall. This title is now held by Prince William.
The estate includes swathes of real estate in central London and the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has the status of a corporation and is run by a chief executive and commissioners – or non-executive directors – appointed by the king on the recommendation of the prime minister.
In the last financial year, it generated a net profit of around £313 million ($361 million). Of that, the British Treasury paid the Queen a sovereign grant of 86 million pounds ($100 million). This equates to £1.29 (US$1.50) per person in the UK.
Most of this money is spent on maintaining the royal family’s property and paying the salaries of its employees.
The sovereign grant is usually equivalent to 15% of the estate’s earnings. But in 2017, the payment was raised by up to 25% for the next decade to help pay for Buckingham Palace’s renovation.
King Charles also inherited the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate that dates back to 1265 and has been prized At around 653 million pounds ($764 million) according to its latest calculations. Income from its investments Covering official costs not covered by the Sovereign Grant, and helping Support other members of the royal family.
The king can spend the sovereign grant only on royal duties. Neither he nor his heirs are allowed to benefit from the sale of assets in their duchies. Any profit from the dispositions is reinvested in the estate, according to an explanation posted by him Institute of Government (IfG).
IfG said the UK Treasury must also approve all large property transactions.
Still, unlike the Sovereign Grant Created by Crown Estate, both The IFG said the duchies are private sources of wealth, meaning owners are not required to provide any details other than reporting their income.
Last year, King Charles, then Duke of Cornwall, paid £21 million ($25 million) from the estate of the Duchy of Cornwall.
who – which Clancy said the move came a year after the royal family came under fire for planning to use public money to repair Windsor Castle, which was damaged in a fire.
“Of course, voluntary income tax [is] It’s not a flat rate, and they don’t have to declare how much income they get from their taxes. In fact, Clancy said, it’s like snatching a character out of thin air.”
Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to CNN Business when contacted for comment.
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