Brief history of the Duchy of Cornwall
The official version of duchy history
Previous official versions of duchy history
Analysis of latest ducal claims
Suppression of Cornish identity
Duchy of Cornwall latest

All the provisions of the said Act of the ninth year of King George the third now applicable to Her Majesty, her Heirs and Successors, shall be extended and be applicable to the Duke of Cornwall, in like manner as if the same were re-enacted and the Duke of Cornwall were throughout mentioned or referred to where the “Kings Majesty” or “His Majesty” is in the said Act mentioned.
Section I, Duchy of Cornwall Act 1860 [23 July]

Even the Duchy of Cornwall itself admitted that the Duke of Cornwall is effectively the King of Cornwall and his duchy constitutes the government of Cornwall: So far as Royal Seignory is concerned, it will scarcely be contended but that the Duke of Cornwall was placed precisely in the position of King. He had all the Crown lands within Cornwall, was entitled to all those feudal services and incidents which attached to those lands, and to all prerogative rights and emoluments, as wardships, marriages, prima seizen, reliefs, escheats &c which belonged to the Crown as the ultimate and supreme lord of the Soil.(4) It is, moreover, submitted that the three duchy charters are sufficient in themselves to vest in the duke’s of Cornwall not only the government of Cornwall, but the entire territorial dominion.(5)

The Sheriffs of the counties of Britain must swear an oath of allegiance to the sovereign. However, the Oath of Allegiance used for the ceremony in Cornwall differs to that used elsewhere in that it instructs the incoming Sheriff to swear an oath of Allegiance to the Duke of Cornwall as Sovereign of Cornwall.(6)

During the course of the 1855-58 foreshore dispute the Attorney General to the Duchy of Cornwall made the following statement: The presumed object of the officers of the Crown is to show that the Duchy possessions consisted merely of the particular manors and estates which are mentioned by name in the Duchy Charter, and did not comprise a territory such as Terra de Cornubia [the territory of Cornwall]. I intend to show how little ground there is for such a conclusion.(7) This duchy statement totally contradicts the latest web-based ducal claim that his duchy is merely a ‘private estate’ based on a collection of manors and other holdings as referenced in the duchy charters.

Will Cornwall’s Head of State now come forward to explain why he adopts a position contrary to (a) available evidence and (b) the duchy’s own previously articulated position?

Ducal claim No.3.

The duke’s website asks itself a question: Does the Duke of Cornwall pay tax on the income from the Duchy? The ducal response: Yes. Like everyone else, the duke pays income tax.

This is untrue. Until 1993 [that is, for the first 650 years of the duchy] the duke never paid income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax or any other tax simply because the Duchy of Cornwall is a Crown dependency lying outside the jurisdiction, and hence taxation laws, of England and Wales.

After the duke’s lavish lifestyle drew media attention in the late 1980’s, the papers started asking why the Duchy of Cornwall never paid any taxes. To ward off prying eyes the duke began making a voluntary contribution to the English taxman. At first, the duke described his payment as a voluntary contribution. Now with the passage of time, that truth has been mutated into an untruth. As the Duchy of Cornwall is not in England or Wales, it does not fall within the jurisdiction of the English Summons of Exchequer(8) and as a result is not required to pay Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax or any other tax.

The duke’s advisors devise all manner of tortuous reasons why he is not required to pay these taxes, none of which would be accepted by the taxman if submitted by you or I. In the final analysis, a non-resident making a voluntary contribution to the taxman as part of an elaborate hoax is not the same as a resident being compelled to pay tax.

Ducal claim No.4.

On that same Duchy of Cornwall website the duke asks of himself: Does the Duchy own all of Cornwall? The answer: No. The Duchy own only 2 per cent of the County.

Here is a question for the duke’s website: Why do Treasury Solicitors say: “The County of Cornwall is the Duchy of Cornwall”?(9) Answer: Because the Duke of Cornwall in right of the Duchy of Cornwall is the presumptive, absolute and ultimate owner of the soil and territorial possession of Cornwall. This is why the lands, property and other assets of any person dying intestate in Cornwall revert to the duke. East of the Tamar these sovereign rights go to the ‘Queen in right of her Crown’ [UK government].

It should be remembered that UK land law operates on the basis that people who purchase land on a freehold basis do not actually own the land. They only purchase the right to occupy that land. In Cornwall, the Duke of Cornwall is the owner of all land and people in Cornwall merely hold, or occupy, his land. Should they die without heirs, the land reverts back to its presumptive, ultimate and absolute owner.(10)

Ducal claim No.5.

The ducal website asks: Why isn’t the Duchy of Cornwall audited by the National Audit Office? The Duke then answers: Because it is a private estate rather than a publicly owned entity. In UK legal parlance, he is really saying that the Duchy of Cornwall is not a ‘public authority’. Strange then, that the UK definition of the term ‘public authority’ is a body or organisation that performs any function of a public nature, and was either (a) created by Parliament or (b) by the Royal Prerogative. As we know, the Duchy of Cornwall meets that definition on all counts.

During the 1828 Rowe v Brenton Trial at Bar, the presiding judge, Lord Tenderten, Lord Chief Justice Kings Bench, affirmed that: the public has an interest in everything that is done in the duchy.(11) Even in 1828, case law could identify that the duchy was a public body and therefore legally anything but a ‘private estate’.

When in 2005 the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee began investigating why the Duchy of Cornwall never submitted accounts to the Audit Office, the government of the Duchy of Cornwall trotted out the same old ‘private estate’ yarn. Edward Leigh MP, the Committee’s mystified chairman, said: I cannot understand why these accounts are not subject to the same disclosure requirements as other accounts presented to parliament.(12) On hearing of the investigation, and seeing the Chairman’s reported comments, I wrote to the Committee pointing out exactly why the Head of State of this Crown dependency was not required to present accounts to his Committee. Shortly afterwards, the Committee halted its investigation.

Of course, the duchy is not subject to the laws which empower the National Audit Office because the Duchy of Cornwall is extra-territorial to England.

Ducal claim No.6

Quote: The duke is not entitled to have, or spend, any of the Duchy’s capital income. He is only entitled to its annual income.

In the real business world, there is a trade off between capital and revenue. Every pound the duke takes from the duchy’s income damages the potential for capital growth. If the duke wanted to see maximum capital growth, he would not take out several millions of pounds per year to fund his ultra-lavish lifestyle. In reality, as happened in the past when pressed to meet personal financial commitments, the duke can raise or lower his income at will to befit his circumstances.

Ducal claim No.7.

The dukes website asks itself: Who manages the Duchy? The response: The Prince’s Council. This is the same Prince’s Council that, under the leadership of the Black Prince in the fourteenth century, said Cornwall was not in England and that the inhabitants of Cornwall were his subjects.(13) Would the duke, or even his ‘Prince’s Council’, care to advise what happened between then and now?

Duchy claim No.8.

This claim was made not on the duke’s website, but by Bertie Ross, the duchy’s Secretary and Keeper of the Records during the 2005 Parliamentary enquiry into why the duchy does not disclose its accounts to the National Audit Office.

When asked by the Select Committee if anyone on the Prince’s Council looked after the interest of the local community, the Secretary and Keeper of the Records replied: We have a representative who sits on the Prince's Council to take into account of the interests of the people of Cornwall. The duke’s representative was than asked: Is that a representative of the people of Cornwall? Is there a name for that person? The response was: He lives in Cornwall, he is a professional, he is a solicitor, he has land himself. He is Mr Coode.(14)

Apparently, St Austell based solicitor Jonathan Coode sits on the Prince’s Council to ‘take account of the interests of the people of Cornwall’. We think Mr Coode has a lot of questions to answer.

1. March 2000 Sunday Times ‘Richest by Century’ List
2. For a list of many of these laws, see Our Future is History p.302.
3. For the full story, see Scat t’Larrups p.22-26.
4. Foreshore dispute. Preliminary Statement by the Duchy of Cornwall. May 1856 p.10.
5. Foreshore dispute. Preliminary Statement by the Duchy of Cornwall. May 1856 p.9.
6. See Oath of Allegiance and analysis on p.17-20 of Scat t’Larrups?.
7. Foreshore dispute. Observations of behalf of HRH the Duke of Cornwall on the further documents brought forward by the Officers of the Crown. Part 1, p.16. April 1857.
8. As per the 2nd and 3rd duchy charters.
9. Treasury Solicitors form BV C1 Version 2. Section 11: Jurisdiction (Part v).
10. See Land Registration Act 2002. Explanatory Note 4: “The Crown is the only absolute owner of land in England and Wales”.
12. Guardian newspaper, July 28 2005
13. Acts of the Council of the Black Prince. 16th July 1351, 18th August 1354.
14. Select Committee on Public Accounts. Examination of Witnesses. 7th February 2005


  . .








FTI Cornwall