But some of these assets are more scandalous than others. According to a bombshell report from the Guardian, the Duchy of Lancaster has been "secretly profiting from the assets of dead citizens" thanks to an archaic system whereby the assets of people who die without making a will or who have no known next of kin, can be claimed by the duchy.
According to the duchy, these assets – known as bona vacantia – are donated to charity. But the Guardian has now claimed that only a small portion of the funds is being donated, with leaked policy documents from 2020 revealing crown officials have been given license to use them on a range of other expenditures. These reportedly include investments that could bring an "incidental" financial benefit to King Charles' personal finances, as well as renovating properties in the crown's portfolio.
Over the last decade, the crown has inherited £60 million ($76m) from residents of north-west England, a region known in the middle ages as Lancashire County, which encompasses parts of Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, and Cumbria as well as modern-day Lancashire. Due to the backlash, King Charles' estate has announced it will send more than £100 million ($127m) to ethical investment funds – though it's kept quiet about whether it plans to stop collecting bona vacantia.