Duchy of Lancaster

The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate of the British sovereign as Duke of Lancaster.[1][2] The principal purpose of the estate is to provide a source of independent income to the sovereign.[2][3] The estate consists of a portfolio of lands, properties and assets held in trust for the sovereign and is administered separately from the Crown Estate.[3] The duchy consists of 18,433 ha (45,550 acres) of land holdings (including rural estates and farmland), urban developments, historic buildings and some commercial properties across England and Wales, particularly in Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Savoy Estate in London.[4] The Duchy of Lancaster is one of two royal duchies: the other is the Duchy of Cornwall, which provides income to the Duke of Cornwall, which is traditionally held by the Prince of Wales.

Duchy of Lancaster
Creation date6 March 1351
MonarchEdward III
First holderHenry of Grosmont
Present holderElizabeth II
Heir apparentCharles, Prince of Wales

In the financial year ending 31 March 2018, the estate was valued at about £534 million.[5] The net income of the Duchy is paid to the reigning sovereign as Duke of Lancaster:[2] it amounts to about £20 million per year.[5] As the Duchy is an inalienable asset of the Crown held in trust for future sovereigns, the sovereign is not entitled to the portfolio's capital or capital profits.[2][6] The Duchy of Lancaster is not subject to tax,[7] although the Sovereign has voluntarily paid both income and capital gains tax since 1993.[8] As such, the income received by the Privy Purse, of which income from the Duchy forms a significant part, is taxed once official expenditures have been deducted.[7]

The Duchy is administered on behalf of the sovereign by the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a government minister appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the prime minister, and by the clerk of the Council.[9] Day-to-day management of the estate's properties and investments is delegated to officers of the Duchy Council,[2][7] while the Chancellor is answerable to Parliament for the effective running of the estate.[10][11][12][13]

Lancashire County Palatine shown within England; this map does not correspond to the landholdings of the Duchy of Lancaster, however

The Duchy exercises some powers and ceremonial duties of the Crown in the historic county of Lancashire,[14] which includes the current Lancashire ceremonial county, Greater Manchester and Merseyside as well as the Furness area of Cumbria. Since the Local Government Act 1972, The Queen in Right of the Duchy appoints the High Sheriffs and Lords Lieutenant in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire.[15]