The Queen’s annual income from her private Duchy of Lancaster estate has risen to £16m, an increase of 18%, or £2.4m, on 2014, accounts reveal.
The Duchy of Lancaster is a royal duchy held in trust for the Sovereign. It is used to provide income for the British monarch and is one of two royal duchies. The other, of course, is the Duchy of Cornwall, which provides income to the Prince of Wales.
The Duchy of Lancaster affords earnings from the 18,433 hectares (45,500 acres) across England and Wales which then are given to the Queen’s privy purse. The duchy portfolio comprises office, retail and industrial properties as well as historic buildings including ten castles and presently has an asset value of £472m.
The Duchy of Lancaster was created for John of Gaunt, a younger son of King Edward III when John had obtained its constituent lands through marriage to Blanche of Lancaster. As the Lancaster inheritance, it dates back to 1265, when Henry III conferred to his younger son, Edmund, lands forfeited by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester.
The first act of King Henry IV was to proclaim that the Lancastrian inheritance be held independently from the other properties of the Crown, and should fall to his male heirs. This division of identities was further strengthened in by Edward IV in 1461 when he combined the inheritance and the territorial responsibilities under the title of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Edward IV specified that it was maintained independently from other inheritances by him and his future heirs. The Duchy consequently passed to the reigning monarch and its separate identity saved it from being yielded with the Crown Estates in exchange for the Civil List in 1760. It is fundamentally a landed inheritance that belongs to the reigning monarch.
It is understood The Queen uses a portion of the money to finance the offices of The Princess Royal, Duke of York and Earl and Countess of Wessex.
The past year proved to be the best on record for the estate. The Duchy of Lancaster is not required to pay corporate tax, but The Queen freely pays tax on the income she receives from it. There are no published figures as to the amount of tax paid yearly.
Buckingham Palace’s official accounts published this past June revealed Her Majesty is due to a 6.7% rise in funds from the sovereign grant in 2016. That means she receives £42.7m in 2016-17 for her official expenses as head of state.
Photo credit: Scottish Parliament via Flickr