the royals

Landlord King Charles Has Shady Methods

Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

King Charles, who is alive, is upgrading the real estate he owns with money from people in North West England who are dead. According to a new report from The Guardian, an arcane system directs the financial assets of people who died with no will or next of kin in what was formerly Lancashire County to the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate owned by the king. The “duchy” has raked in more than £60 million in such funds over the last decade, which it has claimed was being donated to charity. But “internal duchy documents” (yes, this is a real thing) show that much of the funds are actually being used to renovate the king’s real-estate holdings, some of which are then rented out for his own profit.

The Guardian reported that duchy insiders refer to this money as a “slush fund,” which they can use to upgrade the king’s portfolio, which includes hotels, castles, residential and commercial properties, and luxury real estate across the country. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth II approved using these bona vacantia funds for upgrades in 1987 and again in 2019. Such renovations include double-glazed windows (nice!), log burners, and new roofs. In one case, an old farmhouse was renovated partially using these so-called bona vacantia funds, only to be rented out as a four-bedroom home for £1,450 per month.

The feudal-era practice was signed into law by the Parliament in 1925 but, as The Guardian reports, “why this was done is not known.” Meanwhile, it has helped King Charles, a landlord, amass a private fortune that is estimated to be worth £1.8 billion.

Landlord King Charles Has Shady Methods