THE King has directly profited from the deaths of thousands of English people, whose money is being used to upgrade his property empire, according to reports.

An investigation by the Guardian revealed that the monarch was using the feudal concept of “bona vacantia” to hoover up the estates of people who died without a will or known next of kin.

The focus is on the Duchy of Lancaster, which has collected more than £60 million over the last ten years, according to the Guardian. It covers a huge area which includes the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, as well as Burnley, Preston, and Lancaster.

The Duchy of Lancaster has claimed that after costs, any profits from bona vacantia estates are passed on to charity. But the Guardian reported internal documents show funds are being used to renovate properties which are owned by the king and rented out for profit.

The National: King Charles

Most people who die in Britain without a will or next of kin have their estate claimed by the Treasury. But people who die within the ancient duchies of Lancaster or Cornwall have their assets absorbed by the royal estate.

These two duchies are used to provide “private” income to the monarch and their heir. Earlier in 2023, King Charles took £26 million in private income from the Duchy of Lancaster.

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Three sources told the Guardian that bona vacantia funds were seen by the duchy as “free money”.

That paper also spoke to people in the Duchy of Lancaster whose friends had had their assets taken by the royal estate.

One Stanley Kostrzewski, a friend of a David Fry who died aged 50 in Liverpool and had his assets taken by the duchy, said: “I think it’s a disgrace, to be honest.

“I was never aware of his personal circumstances as regards family and next of kin. It sticks in the throat a bit to see his funds being used in this way.”

The Guardian reported that a Duchy of Lancaster spokesperson indicated that the king had endorsed using bona vacantia money on “the restoration and repair of qualifying buildings in order to protect and preserve them for future generations”.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden. He is ultimately in charge of managing the estate. 

Buckingham Palace would not comment.