|Clarence House London headquarters of the Duchy of Cornwall|
Over the last seven years, The Duke of Cornwall’s Benevolent Fund has donated nearly £800,000 to a wide range of organisations and much of the funding goes towards charitable projects which help the environment, conservation, wildlife, community projects and the advancement of art, religion and education.
Duchy of Cornwall: Bona Vacantia and the Duke of Cornwall's benevolent fund
Now I am completely confused at this, the period that the Telegraph reported was from 2006 to some point in 2011 was 5 years in this time the Duchy received over 1 million pounds from Bona Vacantia. It is noted that some money is held back in case of claims by rightful heirs to the money/ assets. But still if the Duchy claims £1,000,000 in 5 years then what does it claim in 7? We might presume on average that it earns £200,000 per year therefore over 7 years it ought to claim £1,400,000 which doesn't seem to tally with the £800,000 mentioned as donations on the Duchy's own website and reveals a potential discrepancy of £600,000 of undonated and unaccounted for money. I can't explain where this money goes and the Duchy is such a tight lipped outfit and has always shunned transparency in it's affairs so it is nigh on impossible to delve further.
However charities are perfectly clear and have to publish accounts, so I accessed the Duke of Cornwall's Benevolent Fund on the Charity Commission's website, it reveals the accounts and outlines the spending of the benevolent fund over the last 5 years. The first filed are for the year end June 2011. This table is taken directly from the government's Charity Commission site:
|Financial year end (FYE)||Income||Spending||Accounts received||Annual Return/Annual Update received||View|
|30 Jun 2011||£84,996||£150,178||06 Feb 2012||06 Feb 2012||Accounts|
|30 Jun 2010||£70,928||£119,067||10 Feb 2011||10 Feb 2011||Accounts|
|30 Jun 2009||£113,252||£112,973||10 Feb 2010||10 Feb 2010||Accounts|
|30 Jun 2008||£139,316||£200,832||12 Feb 2009||12 Feb 2009||Accounts|
|30 Jun 2007||£122,252||£188,417||14 Mar 2008||14 Mar 2008||Accounts|
Now again we return to the figure quoted in the Telegraph £1,019,000 for the income of the Duchy from Bona Vacantia over the last 5 years. Adding up the figures in the income column above we get to £530,774, leaving a glaring gap between the 1 million and the published figures of roughly half or exactly £529,725. So where is half of the money going? The picture looks bleaker and that question gets more prescient when we delve into the accounts themselves which reveal that the Benevolent fund gains income from investments and other sources as well as Bona Vacantia. So establishing quite what the black hole is becomes much more difficult and troubling. Where exactly does the money from Cornwall's dead under medieval Bona Vacantia laws go?
|Charles Windsor and his bling|
As a side note it is very telling that the main beneficiary of donations from the 'benevolent Duke' is charities in his name as Prince of Wales. Topping the donations table in terms of amounts given (see the account pdfs here) every year:
2011 The Prince's Countryside Fund £50,000,
2010 The Prince's Foundation £15,000,
2009 High Moorland Action Group £15,000 and The Prince's Foundation 15,000,
2008 The Prince's Regeneration Trust 105,000,
2007 High Moorland Action Group £100,000
Cornish causes and charities are very much further down the list in terms of sums donated.