The Duchy of Cornwall is regarded by some as a controversial body, one which was created over 670 years ago for the purpose of giving the Prince of Wales an income.
A recent report in the Independent, which revealed £102m of previously secret property deals by the Duchy, is likely to increase scrutiny on the organisation – which insists it is a private body and not subject to freedom of information rules.
However, a recent judicial ruling stated it was indeed subject to these rules.
Milton Keynes warehouse
The report highlights one of the main deals recently carried out by the Duchy: the acquisition of a huge £38m concrete warehouse in Milton Keynes. The choice of purchase has attracted particular attention since the Prince himself has campaigned against large, unsightly buildings in the past.
Does the Duchy pay tax?
While the Prince voluntarily pays income tax, the Duchy is exempt from paying corporation tax and capital gains tax, a set-up that is currently being scrutinised by members of parliament.
There are many mysteries relating to the Duchy, including whether or not it has to purchase private or commercial insurance for his properties. Whichever of the two it is, the Prince will not have to take out unoccupied property insurance on his latest warehouse – since it is being leased by the Waitrose supermarket chain.
As the Duchy continues to attract attention over its dealings, it appears pressure is coming to bear on the centuries-old body from politicians, the media and the public. Time will tell if they change the way they operate.