How rich is King Charles? He built his own property empire long before he inherited his mother’s – The Irish Times

King Charles III built his own empire long before inheriting his mother’s.

Charles, who formally acceded to the British throne on Saturday, spent half a century turning his royal estate into a multi-billion euro portfolio and one of the most lucrative incomes in the royal family business.

While his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, largely devolved responsibility for her portfolio, the King was much more involved in the development of the private estate known as the Duchy of Cornwall. Over the past decade, he has assembled a great team of professional managers who have increased the value and earnings of his portfolio by approximately 50 percent.

The Duchy of Cornwall’s estates are valued at approximately €1.3 billion, compared to €934 million in the late queen’s private portfolio. These two properties represent a tiny fraction of the royal family’s estimated €27.5 billion fortune.

Today, the Duchy of Cornwall owns the iconic cricket ground known as The Oval, lush farmland in the south of England, seaside holiday rentals, London offices and a suburban supermarket depot. (A dukedom is a territory traditionally ruled by a duke or duchess.) The 52,500-hectare (130,000-acre) property portfolio is more than half the size of Co Dublin and generates millions of pounds a year in rental income.

The conglomerate’s holdings are valued at around €1.3bn, compared to around €934m in the late queen’s private portfolio. These two properties represent a tiny fraction of the royal family’s estimated €27.5 billion fortune. On top of that, the family has personal wealth that remains a closely guarded secret.

As king, Charles will take over his mother’s purse and inherit a portion of this priceless personal fortune. While British citizens normally pay around 40 per cent of inheritance tax, Charles gets this tax free. And he will pass control of the dukedom from him to his eldest son, William, to develop further without having to pay corporate taxes.

The growth of the royal family’s coffers and Charles’s personal wealth over the past decade came at a time when Britain was facing deep austerity budget cuts. Poverty levels have skyrocketed and use of food banks has nearly doubled. His palace and polo lifestyle has long fueled accusations that he is out of touch with ordinary people. And, at times, it has been the unwitting symbol of that disconnect, like when his limousine was held up by students protesting tuition hikes in 2010 or when he stepped onto a gilded throne in his royal finery this year to pledge help to families in distress.

Today, he ascends the throne as the country suffers from a cost-of-living crisis that is expected to make poverty even worse. A more divisive figure than his mother, Charles is likely to reinvigorate those who question the relevance of a royal family at a time of public trouble.

Laura Clancy, author of Running the Family Firm: How the Monarchy Manages Its Image and Our Money, says that Charles transformed royal accounts that were once sleepy.

“The dukedom has been trading steadily for the last several decades,” Clancy said. “It is run as a commercial business with a CEO and more than 150 employees.” What used to be seen as simply a “landlocked mound of landed gentry” now functions as a corporation, she says.

The Duchy of Cornwall was established in the 14th century as a way of generating income for the heir to the throne and has financed Charles’ private and official expenses.

Today, he ascends the throne as the country suffers from a cost-of-living crisis that is expected to make poverty even worse. A more divisive figure than his mother, Charles is likely to reinvigorate those who question the relevance of a royal family at a time of public trouble.

Laura Clancy, author of Running the Family Firm: How the Monarchy Manages Its Image and Our Money, says that Charles transformed once-sleepy royal accounts.

“The dukedom has been trading steadily for the last several decades,” Clancy said. “It is run as a commercial business with a CEO and more than 150 employees.” What used to be seen as simply a “landlocked mound of landed gentry” now functions as a corporation, she says.

The Duchy of Cornwall was established in the 14th century as a way of generating income for the heir to the throne and has financed Charles’ private and official expenses. An example of his financial power: the profit of 27.5 million euros he obtained last year dwarfed his official salary as a prince: just over 1.08 million euros.

Assembling the assets of the royal family is complicated, but the fortune is generally divided into four groups.

The first and most prominent is the Crown Estate, which oversees the monarchy’s assets through a board of directors. Charles, as king, will be its president, but he does not have the last word on how the business is run.

The property, whose official book value is more than 18.7 billion, includes shopping malls, busy streets in London’s West End and a growing number of wind farms. Royals are only entitled to earn rental income from their official properties and cannot benefit from any sales as they do not personally own the assets.

Generating tens of millions of pounds a year, the dukedom has financed its private and official spending and financed William, the heir to the throne, and Kate, William’s wife. He has done it without paying corporate tax

The benefits of the inheritance, valued at around 357 million euros this year, are delivered to the Treasury, which in exchange gives the royal house a payment called a sovereign subsidy based on those benefits, which must be supplemented by the Government if it is less. . than the previous year. In 2017, the government increased the family’s payment to 25 percent of earnings to cover the costs of renovating Buckingham Palace.

The last sovereign grant received by the royals was some €98.4 million, which the family, including the king, have used for official royal duties such as visitation, payroll and cleaning. It does not cover royal security costs, which are also paid by the government, but the cost is being kept secret.

The next big chunk of money is the Duchy of Lancaster. This portfolio of 933 million euros is owned by whoever occupies the throne.

But the value of that trust is dwarfed by the Duchy of Cornwall, the third major house of royal money, which Charles has long presided over as prince. Generating tens of millions of euros a year, the dukedom has financed its private and official expenses and financed William, the heir to the throne, and Kate, William’s wife. (The couple have inherited the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, as well as the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales since the Queen’s death.)

It has done so without paying corporation tax as most companies in Britain are required to do and without publishing details of where the estate invests its money. “When Charles took office at 21, the dukedom was not in a good financial state,” says Marlene Koenig, a royal expert and writer, citing mismanagement and a lack of diversification. Charles took a more active role in the portfolio in the 1980s and began hiring experienced managers.

“It was at this time that the dukedom became financially aggressive,” she says.

In 2017, leaked financial documents known as paradise papers revealed that Charles’ dukedom estate had invested millions in offshore ventures, including a Bermuda-registered company run by one of his best friends.

The final and most secret store of money is the family’s private fortune. According to the Rich List, the annual catalog of British wealth published in the Sunday Times, the queen had a net worth of more than 423 million euros. That includes her personal assets, such as Balmoral Castle and the Sandringham Estate, which she inherited from her father. Much of her personal wealth has been kept private.

The king has also made financial headlines unrelated to his wealth but linked to the charitable foundation he chairs and operates on his behalf. His stewardship of the foundation has been marred by controversy, most recently in June when The Sunday Times reported that Charles had accepted €3m in cash, including money stuffed in shopping bags and a suitcase, from a former prime minister. of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad. bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani.

The money was for his foundation, which funds philanthropic causes around the world. Charles does not benefit financially from these contributions.

“He’s willing to take money from anyone, really, without questioning whether it’s the smart thing to do,” says Norman Baker, a former government minister and author of the book…And What Do You Do? What the royal family doesn’t want you to know.

Baker described the king as the most progressive and caring member of the royal family. But he says he too filed a police complaint accusing him of improperly selling honorary titles.

“That’s no way for a royal to behave,” he says, referring to an ongoing scandal over whether Charles had given a knighthood and citizenship to a Saudi business owner in exchange for donations to one of the companies. Charities of Charles.

The king denied knowing about this, one of his top aides who was implicated resigned, and the authorities began to investigate. Representatives for the king did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Charles also generated controversy with his outspoken views and campaigns. He has lobbied high-level government ministers, including Tony Blair, through dozens of letters on topics ranging from the Iraq war to alternative therapies. Although English law does not require it, royal protocol requires political neutrality.

In his inaugural address on Saturday, the king indicated that he planned to step back from his foreign efforts. “It will no longer be possible for me to give as much of my time and energy to the charities and issues that matter so much to me,” he said.

Clancy, the author, says that in theory the new king would be expected to abandon his lobbying and trading activities altogether.

“Whether that will work is a different question,” she says. — This article originally appeared on The New York Times

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