Cover The Georgian style home of King Charles III. The 18th century residence is surrounded by 900 acres of organic land currently farmed by the Duchy of Cornwall. (Photo: Getty Images)

He automatically inherited the British property estate after his father became King Charles III

In the days since Queen Elizabeth II’s death rocked the United Kingdom, the British royal family has undergone major changes as the line of succession shifts and different members take on new roles.

For instance, King Charles III, the former Prince of Wales, is now the head of the monarchy. As such, his son Prince William, is now the Prince of Wales and has also taken on the Duke of Cornwall title which was formerly held by his father. 

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Prince William’s new role comes with more than just a new title and job description. Rather, what everyone has been talking about lately is how he will now inherit the Duchy of Cornwall estate, valued at an estimated US$1.2 billion, according to a report in The Guardian.

The 685-year-old private estate has been passed down through the royal family since it was established in 1337 and has a charter that rules that each future Duke of Cornwall be the eldest surviving son of the monarch and the heir to the throne.

The estate itself generates revenue from resources such as farms and property rentals and the money can be spent however the sitting duke sees fit. 

King Charles III chose to use a substantial portion of his income from the Duchy estate to meet the cost of his public and charitable work as well as the public and private lives of his immediate family.

Now, this income isn’t exactly minimal. Did you know that King Charles III received an income of over £21 million from the estate just last year alone, according to The Guardian.

With how much the property is worth and the amount it generates, we take a look at everything you probably never knew about the British estate.

1. Created in 1337

The Duchy estate was first established in 1337 by Edward III for his son and heir, Prince Edward. It was created to provide an income for the heir to the throne and to create independence. 

In creating the estate, Edward III created a charter that ruled that each future Duke of Cornwall would be the eldest surviving son of the monarch and heir to the throne.

Each Duke has a responsibility towards improving the estate so that they can pass it on to future Dukes in a stronger and better condition. 

2. The Estate Covers 52,449 Hectares of Land

As expected, the Duchy estate is huge. It is so vast that at 52,449 hectares of land, the estate extends beyond the geographical boundaries of Cornwall and covers 20 counties, mostly in the south-west of England.

3. It is Rich in Resources

To be able to generate the kind of annual income that it does, you can imagine that the land is rich with resources and commercial properties. 

True enough, the land sees a number of arable and livestock farms, residential and commercial properties, as well as forests, rivers, quarries, and a coastline.

There is also the oval cricket ground, Dartmoor Prison, a nursery in Lostwithiel and holiday cottages in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

4. It Provides Affordable Housing for People

Poundbury is an urban extension to the Dorset county town of Dorchester and was also built on the Duchy estate in 1993. Today, over 1,700 homes have been built for around 3,500 people, 35 per cent of which are affordable housing, according to the Prince of Wales government site.

Poundbury also provides employment for over 2,000 people working in the 183 shops, cafés, offices and factories.

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5. Sustainability is Key

One of the main pillars of the Duchy estate is to be sustainable, which is why it is consistently managed in a way that protects and enhances the natural environment and the communities that live on the land. 

Some initiatives towards sustainability include committing to reaching net zero across all its diverse portfolios, maintaining soil health and supporting sustainable markets.

6. King Charles III Has Managed the Estate Since He Was 21

Did you know that King Charles III first took control of the Duchy estate when he was 21 after becoming the Duke of Cornwall? He has since managed the estate for over five decades and marked 50 years running the estate in 2019. 

Under his watch, the estate has grown to be sustainable, financially viable and of meaningful value to the local community. 

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