Republic is campaigning against the Duchy of Cornwall, calling for it to be taken off Prince Charles and effectively 're-nationalised'.
The Duchy is a corporation that isn't incorporated, a company that isn't registered, it trades like any other business yet refuses to pay tax and enjoys unique legal privileges. We're talking here about the organisation run by Charles, not the land to the west of Devon. Cornwall should continue to enjoy its unique status but the Duchy must be brought under public control and used for the benefit of everyone.
Power and privilege
Republic has been uncovering some unique modern legal privileges enjoyed by the Duchy, privileges that we believe are the direct result of Charles's use of the 'royal veto', an issue we've campaigned on before.
The Duchy also hands its multi-million pound profits to Charles, without first bothering to pay corporation tax. Charles uses the Duchy as a vehicle to fund his own projects and charities, all designed to promote his own agenda and project his own influence.
The Duchy is a major land owner and property developer yet has unique commercial advantages, simply because Charles is the son of the Queen.
The Duchy has never been the private property of the Windsor family. It was effectively privatised in the eighteenth century when the king handed over the Crown Estate to parliamentary control (the Crown Estate was also not the private property of the royals). Charles was made sole-shareholder forty years ago, when he became Duke of Cornwall.
It's time the Duchy was exposed for what it is - a very modern business dressed up as a feudal landed estate. It's time we re-nationalised the Duchy, so its assets and profits can be used for the benefit of the community.
Why we need to take back the Duchy
- The Duchy belongs to the nation, yet pays its profits to Prince Charles
- The Duchy refuses to pay corporation tax, swelling Charles's income
- The Duchy provides Charles with a unique veto over new laws that affect his own private interests
- The Duchy enjoys various unique powers and privileges, no doubt as a result of that veto
- These privileges include exemption from planning laws, the freedom to build on areas of outstanding natural beauty and protection from freedom of information laws
Taking back the Duchy
A simple seven-point plan for taking back the Duchy:
- The Duchy to cease to exist independently of the Crown Estate
- Duchy revenue and assets within Cornwall should be invested in local Cornish communities
- All other revenues and assets of the Duchy should belong to the nation as part of the Crown Estate
- The Crown Estate should be re-named the National Estate, to reflect its purpose and ownership more accurately.
- All legal privileges and exemptions enjoyed by the Duchy should come to an end
- Where the Duchy acts as a public authority these responsibilities should be transfered to appropriate bodies and government agencies
- Where the Duchy plays a cultural or historic role within Cornwall these functions should either be transferred to the Cornwall Council or to an independent Duchy Trust (in which Prince Charles will play no role and which would give him no privileges)
Find out more
Tax avoidance [coming soon]
The Duchy's finances and the prince's profits [coming soon]