King Charles III has been accused of using ancient feudal laws to nab tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for charity from the deaths of hundreds of Brits to upgrade his real estate empire, in keeping with a bombshell report from the Guardian this week.
The king has reportedly been claiming and profiting for years off assets generally known as “bona vacantia,” that are owned by individuals who died and not using a will or known next of kin, in an effort to upgrade business properties for rent, the outlet reported.
In the past 10 years, the monarch has reportedly collected greater than $75 million within the funds — despite pledges to donate all proceeds to charity.
However, documents obtained by the Guardian from The Duchy of Lancaster, Charles’ extensive land and property estate he inherited from the late Elizabeth II, reveal that the cash is secretly getting used to renovate the properties that he rents out for profit.
Under the medieval practice of “bona vacantia,” or “vacant goods,” the king’s duchy inherits funds from those whose last known address belonged to Lancashire county palatine and ruled for hundreds of years by a duke, in keeping with the Guardian.
The duchy also obtains assets owned by firms after they fold.
The Duchy of Cornwall, which has been passed on to Prince William since Charles’ ascension, also operates under the system.
The two duchies operate as real estate empires, controlling tracks of farmland, hotels, castles, offices, warehouses, businesses and a few of London’s elite real estate, the Guardian reported.
Neither duchy pays corporation tax or capital gains tax, despite generating greater than $1.6 billion over the past six many years.
While the cash is meant to go to charities, only 15% of the monies have been directed there over the past 10 years, in keeping with documents reviewed by the outlet.
The rule was expanded in May 2020, sources told the Guardian, when the SA9 policy was introduced and outlined what “bona vacantia” money could possibly be used for — including for the “public good” to repair and protect duchy properties deemed a “heritage asset” or buildings of “local historical importance.”
The Guardian found that the duchy was permitted to burn its “bona vacantia” earnings on roughly half of its property portfolio on certain repairs like renovating partitions, foundations, floors and chimneys in addition to electrical and insulation work.
Among the properties getting spruced up are town homes, holiday rentals, country cottages and barns, including one used for pheasant and partridge shoots.
“The king reaffirmed that cash from bona vacantia shouldn’t profit the privy purse, but ought to be used primarily to support local communities, protect the sustainability and biodiversity of the land and preserve public and historic properties across the Duchy of Lancaster estates,” a spokesperson told outlet.
“This includes the restoration and repair of qualifying buildings in an effort to protect and preserve them for future generations.”
Charles has reaped the advantages of this ancient practice, along with his rental properties becoming more profitable, garnering tens of hundreds of thousands in duchy profits every year — revenue Buckingham Palace has declared “private.”
The Guardian found dozens of examples of Brits whose money was devoured up by King Charles under the archaic law. Many of their friends found the motion “disgusting,” with one saying their deceased pal “would turn in his grave if he knew.”
The royals declined to comment to the outlet regarding the report.