While Prince Charles received a record private income of £19m from the Duchy of Cornwall, it was a flat year for his mother.
Note: This article is from the Guardian.
The Queen has not shared the good fortune of her eldest son as the amount she received from her hereditary landed estate, the Duchy of Lancaster, fell by 2.8% to £12.5m in the past year.
While Prince Charles received a record private income of £19m from the Duchy of Cornwall, an increase of 4.1%, it was a flat year for his mother, despite her 18,087-hectare estate seeing its net value increase to a record £428.3m.
The private income the Queen receives from the Duchy is separate from the sovereign grant she gets for her official duties and the royal family’s working travel costs, which is based on 15% of the profits of the Crown Estate and will see her receive £37.8m next year, an increase of 5% on 2011-12.
Money from the Duchy, since the accession to the throne of Henry IV in 1399, which owns the Savoy estate in London as well as substantial holdings in Lancashire and Yorkshire, goes into the privy purse. Like the Duchy of Cornwall, it does not pay corporation or capital gains tax.
The Queen voluntarily pays tax on the income – but the annual accounts do not reveal the amount she pays. She uses some of the money to fund the offices of members of the royal family who assist her in her role as head of state: the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra.
It does not cover their travel costs, which are met by the taxpayer. It also does not cover the offices of Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry which, excluding travel costs, are met by Charles.
Paul Clarke, chief executive and clerk of the Duchy Council, said the performance of the portfolio had been relatively flat as major redevelopment and refurbishment projects had been undertaken.
These have included an £8.5m refurbishment of Wellington House, an office block on the Strand in London, and work on the nearby Queen’s chapel of the Savoy, the Duchy’s only working church and where before each service the national anthem is sung with the variation: “Long live our noble Duke.”
The Duchy’s portfolio includes key urban developments, historic buildings, including Lancaster Castle, woodland and swaths of high-quality farm land. It also includes mineral rights and foreshores.
Under its charter, like the Duchy of Cornwall, it is entitled to bona vacantia, or unclaimed estates of the deceased on the estate. Last year it received £1,345,000 in such income, which was given to two charities, the Duchy of Lancaster Jubilee Trust and the Duke of Lancaster Housing Trust.
The estate’s origins lie in the granting of lands to Edmund, the first Earl of Lancaster, in 1265. Today, most of its income is generated through commercial properties.
It was set up to provide the sovereign of the day with a source of income independent from the government and the public purse.
Clarke said: “The Duchy has weathered the period since the financial crash well. The rate of growth has steadied, but the pre-crisis levels were probably unsustainable in the longer term. We have taken the opportunity during that period to undertake refurbishments and planning investigation to position the Duchy for future improvement in the underlying economy.”
Meanwhile the Queen also saw a drop in the number of tourists visiting her palaces and galleries in the past year.
The Royal Collection annual review, published on Thursday, showed overall visitor numbers fell from 2.56 million in 2011-12 to 2.42 million last year, partly because of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Admission prices to the buildings and exhibitions are used to maintain the Royal Collection, the vast collection of art held by the sovereign in trust for the nation.
Figures showed the number of tourists visiting Buckingham Palace during its summer opening fell from 605,000 in 2011-12 to 558,000 last year. Attendance at Windsor Castle dropped by 4.3% to 1,096,728.
• This article was amended on 19 July 2013. An earlier version said that the Duchy of Lancaster was founded by Henry VI in 1399. It has been known as a duchy since 1351, and it was since the accession to the throne of Henry IV, not VI, in 1399 that income has gone into the privy purse of reigning monarchs. This has been corrected.
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