King of the clink: How William has inherited a prison too in his vast property portfolio

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Following his father's ascension to the throne, Prince William now controls the vast Duchy of Cornwall. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Following his father's ascension to the throne, Prince William now controls the vast Duchy of Cornwall. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Prince William not only inherited the Prince of Wales title when his father ascended the throne – he now also owns several rivers, a cricket ground and a prison.

William, now the Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge and heir to the throne, inherited the unusual items as they form part of the Duchy of Cornwall.

The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate which was established by Edward III in 1337. The revenue from the estate is passed onto His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, who must use it to fund his public, charitable and private activities and those of his family.

William (40) has inherited the Duchy of Cornwall as he is the oldest son of the monarch.

The £345 million (R6 billion) estate boasts The Oval cricket ground, farms, housing developments, seven castles, woodlands, coastlines and commercial property, as well as HMP Dartmoor, a category C prison built on duchy land within the national park.

The prison is a men’s only facility that houses mostly white-collar criminals in Devon.

It was featured in the 1963 James Bond film, From Russia with Love, and in the 1946 Sherlock Holmes film, Dressed to Kill.

Royalty, Prince William, King Charles, tax, Duchy
The main gate of Dartmoor prison is inscribed with the words Parcere Subiectis, which translates to Spare the Vanquished. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

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William is now also his father’s landlord.

The duchy owns Highgrove House, Charles’ beloved 18th century Gloucestershire estate that he bought with the proceeds of the duchy estate while he was married to Diana.

King Charles III (73) will now have to pay his oldest son £700 000 (R141 million) in rent for Highgrove, whose gardens he has transformed over the years into a nature lover’s dream that attracts 30 000 tourists a year.

Royalty, Prince William, King Charles, tax, Duchy
William and Charles inspect the cows at the Duchy Home Farm In Gloucestershire. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

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The Prince of Wales’ inheritance hasn’t been without controversy, though.

Because of a special government rule created in 1993 to protect the wealth of the sovereign, neither Charles nor William paid a cent in inheritance tax when Queen Elizabeth died.

Usually assets worth more than £325 000 (R6 million) are taxed at 40% when inherited by an individual in the UK.

Anti-monarchist group Republic says the royals not paying inheritance tax is an absolute disgrace, especially considering the rising cost of living in Britain.

“There's no justification for it,” says Graham Smith, CEO of Republic. “This has been the case for quite some time that the monarch does not pay inheritance tax when they take the throne. There's absolutely no justification for allowing them to accumulate this enormous wealth.

“We just keep on throwing more money at them and they keep accumulating it while spending more of our money on their day-to-day costs. There needs to be a root-and-branch review of royal funding and they need to be brought into line with the same rules everyone else has to abide by.”

William could, however, follow his father’s lead and pay income tax from the income he receives from the Duchy of Cornwall.


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