Bona Vacantia! King Charles Siphoning Dead Brits' Assets Meant For Charity Via Medieval Law

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Nov 27, 2023 - 10:45 AM

Britain's King Charles has been siphoning tens of millions of dollars intended for charity, thanks to a medieval law called "bona vacantia," (vacant goods) which transfers the assets of those who died in a particular region without a will or known next of kin to the duchy. With said funds, Charles has been upgrading a commercial property empire managed by his hereditary estate.

Jimmy Savile and Charles

Over the past 10 years, over $75 million in funds have reportedly been collected, despite pledges that the proceeds from such transfers would be donated to charity (of which only 15% has been directed), The Guardian reports.

Financial assets known as bona vacantia, owned by people who died without a will or known next of kin, are collected by the duchy. Over the last 10 years, it has collected more than £60m in the funds. It has long claimed that, after deducting costs, bona vacantia revenues are donated to charities.

However, only a small percentage of these revenues is being given to charity. Internal duchy documents seen by the Guardian reveal how funds are secretly being used to finance the renovation of properties that are owned by the king and rented out for profit.

The rule kicks in if someone whose last known address was in a territory known in the middle ages as Lancashire county palatine, and ruled by a duke. Today, this includes Lancashire and parts of Mereyside, Greater Manchest, Cheshire and Cumbria, per the report.

A leaked internal duchy policy from 2020 was used by officials to invoke bona vacantia in order to apply funds to the king's profit-generating portfolio. The policy, codenamed "SA9," acknowledges that there may be an 'incidential' benefit to the privy purse - aka the king's personal income.

Properties identified in other leaked documents as eligible for use of the funds include town houses, holiday lets, rural cottages, agricultural buildings, a former petrol station and barns, including one used to facilitate pheasant and partridge shoots in Yorkshire.

Upgrades include new roofs, double-glazing windows, boiler installations and replacements of doors and lintels. One document references the renovation of an old farmhouse in Yorkshire, helping transform it into a high-end residential let. Another upgrade is helping turn a farm building into commercial offices. -The Guardian

As The Guardian further notes, the refurbishments have made rental properties more profitable, which indirectly benefits the king who receives tens of millions in annual duchy profits - income which Buckingham Palace says is "private."

Lancaster Castle. The Duchy of Lancaster came under Charles’s ownership after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Photograph: Andrew Hopkins/Alamy

The Duchy of Cornwall - which has been passed on to Prince William, operates under the same system - neither of which pays corporation tax or capital gains tax despite generating over $1.6 billion over the last 6 decades.

Charles visits Jimmy Savile's Highlands rape cottage in 1999

According to the report, dozens of people saw money transferred to the king's hereditary estate after they died in the north-west, in places including Preston, Manchester, Burnley, Blackburn, Liverpool, Ulverston and Oldham. Several of the deceased had been living in rundown properties or social housing, which several of their surviving friends called "disgusting" , "shocking" , and "not ethical."

Prince Charles and... no, no... that's Charles' brother Andrew with a different notorious pedophile bestie he had no idea about...

While Buckingham Palace has declined to comment to the Guardian, a spokesperson of unknown gender for the Duchy of Lancaster indicated that following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles endorsed the continuation of a policy of using bona vacantia money on "the restoration and repair of qualifying buildings in order to protect and preserve them for future generations."

Throughout England and Wales, those who die without making a will and have no identifiable relatives have their assets transferred to the Treasury, which typically spends the funds on public services. Under a custom which began in the medieval period, however, two hereditary estates, or duchies, belonging to the royal family, are permitted to collect bona vacantia funds from people who die in the aforementioned regions. They also collect leftover corporate assets when businesses are dissolved.

One is the Duchy of Cornwall, which generates profits for whoever is the heir to the throne. Charles used to closely manage the duchy, but last year it passed to his son, Prince William. It collects bona vacantia funds from deceased Cornish residents.

The other is the Duchy of Lancaster, inherited by Charles from his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, when she died last year. Both duchies are professionally run real estate empires that manage swaths of farmland, hotels, castles, offices, warehouses, shops and urban property, including some of London’s prime luxury real estate.

Neither duchy pays corporation tax or capital gains tax, giving them a significant commercial advantage. They have become huge cash cows for the royals, generating the equivalent of more than £1.2bn in profits over the last 60 years. -The Guardian

Both duchies have claimed over the years that they distribute funds 'net of costs' to charities, however just 15% of the £61m collected in the last decade have made it to help those in need - and in fact, a large and growing portion of bona vacantia funds for the last several years have been dedicated towards the renovation of properties rented out on a commercial basis - a practice which accelerated starting in May 2020, when SA9 was introduced to bless the process.

Jimmy Savile speaks while Charles writes

According to the actual policy of bona vacantia, such funds are allowed to be used for the "public good" in order to repair, restore, preserve and protect duchy properties when they're designated a "heritage asset." 

Using a much broader definition, duchy-owned properties qualify for the funds if they fit within a further seven categories, including buildings located in a conservation area, a site of special scientific interest or area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), which cover large swaths of rural England.

Duchy properties are also eligible for the funding if they are deemed by officials to be of “local historical importance”. A Guardian analysis suggests the 2020 policy gave the duchy licence to spend bona vacantia on roughly half of its property portfolio. -The Guardian

"The primary intention of the expenditure must be the preservation and protection of the fabric of the property and any benefit to the privy purse [the king’s private income] is incidental to that purpose," reads SA9, which also indicates that "The authority for the use of special costs in this connection is found in a royal sign manual dated February 1987 as supplemented by a further [royal sign manual] dated October 2019."

Such 'royal sign manuals' are reportedly references to the personal signature of the monarch - which at the time was Queen Elizabeth II. Acording to the Duchy of Lancaster spokesperson, Charles rubber-stamped the queen's prior approval.

"The king reaffirmed that money from bona vacantia should not benefit the privy purse, but should be used primarily to support local communities, protect the sustainability and biodiversity of the land and preserve public and historic properties across the Duchy of Lancaster estates," they said, genderlessly. "This includes the restoration and repair of qualifying buildings in order to protect and preserve them for future generations."

Charles and pal Jimmy Savile share a laugh...

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