Prince Charles Hidden Wealth: Royal Earned $1.4 Million From Dead Cornwall Tenants With No Wills
Aside from being the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles is also the landlord of a lucrative 53-hectare land, the Duchy of Cornwall, where he has, reportedly, received some $1.4 million in just two years from tenants who died without any wills.
According to Daily Express, the Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate valued at over $1 billion. It is a residential, commercial and agricultural land covering 22 counties, where the rules about land ownership are as ancient as its first landlord, the first Prince of Wales, Edward III, in 1337.
Because of these ancient provisions, the Duke of Cornwall could apparently claim any assets of a Cornwall tenant who did not leave a will or who did not have any surviving kin to pass down the inheritance. This provision is known as the bona vacantia and the Prince of Wales has benefitted from it, as indicated in the revenues report of the Duchy of Cornwall in 2019.
However, the Duchy of Cornwall's report also stated that the Prince of Wales never keeps the money generated from unclaimed inheritance for himself. Instead, it's secured in a benevolent endowment fund and invested to grow to help charitable causes that go back to the community. In the last few years, the Duchy has donated over $1.2 million to local causes.
Apart from the bona vacantia law, Charles also has the right to veto laws that may affect the Duchy of Cornwall. A recent expose from The Guardian revealed that Charles "vetted" about 275 laws that, for one thing, prevented his tenants from borrowing money with their homes as collaterals. Some tenants have told The Guardian that their properties in Cornwall have no financial value to them or their families.
But a spokesperson for the Duchy said that the allegations are incorrect and that Charles did not attempt to influence laws about their private lands. The Duchy of Cornwall nor the Council doesn't get involved in the drafting of laws that relate to the lease. Instead, tenants are made aware of the restrictions that could affect them once the legislation has become a law.
In the same manner, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace also said that the screening and scrutiny by Charles or Queen Elizabeth when it comes to their private estates are purely for formalities and in accordance with the parliamentary process.
Charles has been the landlord of the Duchy of Cornwall since 1952. His eldest son, Prince William, will take over once Charles becomes the King of the United Kingdom. (Business Times)