King Charles III Under Fire for Upgrading Royal Properties with Assets of Intestate Citizens
The lavish real estate portfolio of King Charles III is once again embroiled in controversy, this time over his reported use of an obscure feudal law to acquire assets from deceased British citizens without heirs.
The Duchy of Lancaster, a historic estate known for generating significant income for the King, stands at the center of the issue. Under a centuries-old legal principle called “bona vacantia,” assets of intestates – those who die without a will or living relatives – within the Duchy’s jurisdiction automatically fall to the Crown.
While the Duchy has long claimed to channel these funds towards charities, a recent investigation by The Guardian revealed a different story. Over the past decade, an estimated $76 million generated through bona vacantia has reportedly been directed towards renovations and upgrades on Duchy properties, boosting their rental value and profitability.
This practice, deemed “antiquated” and opaque by critics, has sparked public outcry. Friends of deceased individuals whose assets were allegedly used this way expressed outrage, stating that the deceased “would turn in his grave” if they knew their wealth was enriching the royal coffers.
The revelation that these “free money” funds, referred to as a “slush fund” by insiders, were never publicly disclosed further amplifies concerns about transparency and accountability within the Duchy.
King Charles III himself has remained silent on the matter, but a Duchy spokesperson defended the practice, claiming it aligns with a policy of using funds for “restoration and repair” of historic buildings. However, critics argue that this rationale masks a self-serving motive to enhance the King’s personal holdings through dubious means.
As public scrutiny intensifies, King Charles III faces mounting pressure to address the ethical concerns surrounding this controversial inheritance practice and demonstrate greater transparency in the management of his vast landed wealth.