22 October 2013 - 19:30
Learning the lay of the land: Prince William will get his boots wet at the Duchy of Cornwall


Editor-in-Chief
Prince William will inherit the Duchy when Prince Charles becomes King.

Prince William will inherit the Duchy when Prince Charles becomes King.

Very shortly, Prince William will be putting on his Wellies, grabbing a walking stick and surveying the land that is the Duchy of Cornwall. Past events indicate The Duke of Cambridge is being prepared to inherit the Duchy in the future.

In 2009 The Duke of Cambridge attended an event at Highgrove, The Prince of Wales’ country estate which is part of the Duchy. The 2009 event was ‘organized to introduce the second in line to the throne to some of the farmers, tenants and shopkeepers,’ according to the Daily Mail. The event was viewed as a stepping stone for the Duke of Cambridge to learning the intricacies of the Duchy.

In 2011, The Duke attended a meeting with the Prince’s Council, the group that runs the Duchy. “The Council normally meets twice a years and this has been the first occasion the Duke of Cambridge has been present at one,” Tim Walker reported in The Telegraph. Further indication the Duke of Cambridge is ‘learning the ropes.’

Edward III founded the Duchy in 1337 as a source of income for the heir apparent.

Edward III founded the Duchy in 1337 as a source of income for the heir apparent.

The Duchy of Cornwall was created by Edward III in 1337. He created the Duchy in order to afford an income for the King’s heir. At the time it was Edward of Woodstock – who later became the Black Prince – who was made Duke of Cornwall; and the Duchy of Cornwall has been in effect ever since.

In its incarnation “the Duchy consisted of two parts: the title and honour (known as the dignity) and the territory (landed estate) which supported it financially,” according to The Duchy of Cornwall website.

The titles of Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall do not necessarily always come together. The title of Prince of Wales is given by the Sovereign on their discretion whereas the Dukedom of Cornwall is a hereditary title and is either taken at birth or upon accession of a new King or Queen.

Prince Charles became the Duke of Cornwall when Her Majesty acceded in 1952. He was given the title Prince of Wales in 1958 but was not invested until 1969.

The Prince of Wales is now the 24th Duke of Cornwall and has held the title for one of the longest periods in history. The Prince of Wales celebrated his 50th year as Duke in 2002. Only two others have held this Dukedom for extended periods of time. One was George Augustus Frederick who would become King George IV and was the Duke of Cornwall from 1762-1820 and the second was Albert Edward, who would become King Edward VII and was the Duke of Cornwall from 1841-1901.

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“The Prince of Wales chooses to use his income from the Duchy, rather than public money to cover the great majority of the cost of the public duties of both himself and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry,” A Duchy of Cornwall spokesperson stated via the Prince of Wales website.

The Duchy covers a vast 53,154 hectares of land, with the majority in the South West of England.

Prince Charles became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, the traditional titles for the heir to the throne, when his mother became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

Prince Charles became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, the traditional titles for the heir to the throne, when his mother became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

The Duchy is managed by the Duke of Cornwall. The Duke has been known for wishing to “improve the estate and pass it on to the future Dukes in a stronger and better condition,” per the Duchy website.

Many wonder what monies the Duke of Cornwall is entitled to and what he may spend. “The Duke of Cornwall is not entitled to have or to spend any of the Duchy’s capital (but is only entitled to its annual income),” states the Duchy website.

With those monies being utilized, The Prince of Wales does not receive funding from the Civil List. The Prince of Wales uses the bulk of the Duchy income to further his charities and work. The income from the Duchy is subject to taxation, and therefore, contributes to the income of the country.

As for the Prince of Wales Duchy Originals business, this is a separate entity from the Duchy of Cornwall. The impetus for starting the company in 1992 was to not only raise funds for the Prince’s charities (100% of all proceeds from Duchy Originals is distributed to the Prince’s charities), but to also create new approaches to sustainable farming. The Prince of Wales is well known for his environmental endeavours and love of botany, so the start of The Duchy Originals was rather a genius scheme. Duchy Originals also aids farmers who in the current climate face uncertain times.

Unfortunately the Duchy is currently only handed down to a male heir. Although changes have been made in the laws of succession, to date this has not been changed. If no male heir exists, The Duchy reverts to the monarch which then reduces the amount of the Civil List funding by what is earned from the Duchy’s Income.

This the first in a series of three that will explain the history, the areas that comprise The Duchy, and further study of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s investment, love and passion for the Duchy.  I hope you will continue to enjoy the rest of the series.

photo credit: Beacon RadioCircaSassy and smileykt via photopin cc



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Edited by Cindy Stockman




  • Cepe

    Really interesting article – like learning new information. One query. It says that the “titles of Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall are always held by the 1st in line of succession…..” ”

    I thought that the Duke of Cornwall was only for the eldest son of the Monarch, ie if Charles died before HMQ, William could not become Duke of Cornwall (although there would be ways established by which he could have access to the income, in the same way HMQ did prior to becoming Queen.

    • Royal Central

      Thanks for the feedback. Will amend & clarify this.


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