Financial accounts published by the Duchy of Cornwall, the private estate which funds the public, charitable and private activities of Prince Charles and his family reveal he earned £552,000 from the power this year alone.
Under constitutional law dating back to medieval times, the Prince of Wales is entitled to the estates of people who die without a will in Cornwall. In most of Britain, dying without a will, known as ‘dying intestate’, means money left by the deceased goes to the government.
But in Cornwall, property passes to Prince Charles. Accounts published on the Duchy’s website disclose total earnings of £1.019 million.
As the Duke of Cornwall, Charles has several little known rights and powers, including the right to veto Westminster legislation. One of the powers is Bona Vacantia — from the Latin for vacant land — the right to claim the estates of people who die without heirs in the county.