The Second Empire of Charles III with castle, lands, quarries and luxury hotel

George VI first referred to the House of Windsor as Business company). Journalist and author Penny Junor and historian Ed Owens are among royal experts who say Elizabeth II’s father coined the term when he was just a student at Cambridge. Apparently, the headmaster of the university caught the then prince smoking and demanded emulation. “You are a member of the royal family,” she reportedly chided him, to which the future king replied: “We are not a family, we are a company”. The emperor, a heavy smoker who died of lung cancer on February 6, 1952, was not mistaken. Windsor has one of these holding The oldest in the world, an archaic and mysterious group of companies that passed from emperor to emperor and whose investment portfolio dates back to the Middle Ages.

Henry IV created this first group as the Duchy of Lancaster in 1399 as insurance for his heirs. Since then, the king of the United Kingdom risks losing his crown, but not his fortune. Now Carlos III must take charge of this corporate structure and the criticisms and conjectures that surround it. Do I have to pay inheritance tax? How will he distribute the succulent dividend among his relatives?

The Duchy of Lancaster has collected the private legacies of British monarchs for six centuries. Its main purpose is to provide kings with a source of income independent of sovereign grants, a budget item provided by the state for their official duties. In the opaque world of Windsor royal finances, the line between public and private ownership is blurred. from the seat of holding, a cabinet-sized building in London’s Westminster borough, manages land and property completely separate from Crown ownership. In total around 19,000 hectares are spread over farms and farms, quarries and sandstone, limestone and plaster for building, castles, urban and residential developments and commercial premises throughout England and the Wales.

According to figures released by the Duchy in March this year, the group currently controls assets of 652 million pounds (about 730 million euros) and made a net profit of 24 million pounds (27 million euros). over the past year. euro). According to these reports, Windsor’s commercial and real estate portfolio generated 63% of the Duchy of Lancaster’s revenue. Farms only contribute 20% of the profits. A jewel in the crown of this structure is the location of the iconic Savoy Hotel, one of London’s most luxurious residences, just meters from the offices where the company manages its fortune. Renting out this epitome of British hospitality brings huge profits to the royal family, who also own other historic buildings in this beautiful area of ​​the capital.

The luxurious Savoy Hotel in London is located on land owned by the Duchy of Lancaster.Peter McDiarmid (Getty Images)

Thus Charles III inherited from his mother not only a monarchy which enjoys a certain popularity, but also a financial empire which has prospered spectacularly over the past 70 years. When the Duchy of Lancaster was inherited by the Queen of England after her father’s death in 1952, it generated an annual surplus of £100,000. Half a century later, in the year 2000, this figure rose to around seven million euros, and the previous year to 27 million. The kings do not have the right to touch the capital of the group, but the rent goes directly into their pockets.

The Duchy of Lancaster is not subject to corporation tax or inheritance tax, although in 1993 Elizabeth II voluntarily decided to start paying income tax, paying 40% of his personal income to the British Treasury, whatever their source. According to a poll by YouGov, between September 15 and 16 this year, 63% of Britons believe the new monarch should pay inheritance tax. Only 16% of respondents believe that they do not have to pay taxes for the immense personal wealth they inherited from their mother.

The Windsor Signature is a chameleon-like creature that changes shape and color. Sometimes it operates like a private financial institution, sometimes like a public institution. Sometimes it operates as a family trust, sometimes as a business enterprise. And still under the radar of rigorous parliamentary scrutiny. If the Duchy of Lancaster were entirely private then, like any other private property, it would escape the scrutiny of Parliament. But if it were entirely public, as state property, it would not be taxable. The royal family gets the best of both worlds.

Kings have the right to spend all that money as they see fit. Elizabeth II used it at her private residence – Sandringham, Balmoral Castle – to support her horse races and the personal expenses of her children and other relatives. According to the British press, the Queen provided her son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, a millionaire, to pay for his legal defense in the Epstein case and a deal with Virginia Giuffre to get rid of the abuse lawsuit. did. sexual. “It is a time of uncertainty for Andres now that King Carlos has taken control of the vast revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster,” reported a few days ago daily mail, No matter what Carlos decides about his brother’s future status, he’s likely to be less generous than his mother. British kings can lose their crown, but not their wealth. The parents of the sovereign do not enjoy the same privilege.

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