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Shocking Report: King Charles III allegedly profiting from deceased citizens

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Shocking Report: King Charles III allegedly profiting from deceased citizens

FILE - Prince Charles is seated next to the Queen's crown during the State Opening of Parliament, at the Palace of Westminster in London, May 10, 2022. On Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, King Charles III will sit on a gilded throne and read out the King’s Speech, a list of planned laws drawn up by the Conservative government and aimed at winning over voters ahead of an election next year.

FILE - Prince Charles is seated next to the Queen's crown during the State Opening of Parliament, at the Palace of Westminster in London, May 10, 2022. On Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, King Charles III will sit on a gilded throne and read out the King’s Speech, a list of planned laws drawn up by the Conservative government and aimed at winning over voters ahead of an election next year.© Provided by Hindustan Times

King Charles III is allegedly benefitting from the deaths of citizens in the north-west of England. According to The Guardian, the Duchy of Lancaster, managed by his hereditary estate, has reportedly collected tens of millions of pounds from financial assets known as bona vacantia, owned by people who died without a will or known next of kin.

The Duchy has claimed that these revenues are donated to charities, but leaked internal documents suggest a different story. The funds are allegedly being used to upgrade properties owned by the king, turning a significant profit for the royal estate. The Guardian identified dozens of deceased individuals whose assets were transferred to the king's estate, contrasting their modest living conditions with the high-end properties funded by their assets.

One leaked document, codenamed "SA9," gave officials at the king's estate the license to use bona vacantia funds on a wide array of its profit-generating portfolio. The upgrades include townhouses, holiday lets, rural cottages, agricultural buildings, and even a former petrol station and barns used for pheasant and partridge shoots in Yorkshire.

The revelations have sparked outrage, with surviving friends of the deceased citizens calling the practice "disgusting," "shocking," and "not ethical." The Duchy of Lancaster has declined to comment, and Buckingham Palace remains silent on the matter.

According to The Guardian's investigation, the Duchy's use of bona vacantia funds accelerated in May 2020, with the introduction of policy SA9. The policy allows the funds to be used for the "public good" to repair, restore, and preserve the fabric of duchy properties, categorized as "heritage assets." However, the definition extends to properties in conservation areas, sites of special scientific interest, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and those of "local historical importance."

Also Read | Prince Harry dials King Charles on his 75th birthday, ‘there was a notable shift in tone’

While the Duchy claims that the primary intention of the expenditure is the preservation of properties, critics argue that the indirect financial benefit to the monarch is undeniable. The king received £26 million from the Duchy of Lancaster in his first annual payout since inheriting the estate from Queen Elizabeth II.

The controversy raises questions about the ethical use of funds and the transparency of the royal estates' financial practices. 

Story by Prapti Upadhayay: Hindustan Times

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