9 December 2011

Last month in the Lords John Laird sought the government’s view of the status of the duchy of Cornwall in view of the oyster decision. Tom McNally, minister of state at the Justice department, said, inter alia, “The duchy of Cornwall is a private estate, the funds from which are used to support the public, charitable and private activities of the prince of Wales, the duchess of Cornwall, the duke and duchess of Cambridge and prince Harry” (Lords Hansard 23 November 2011 column WA 242). Recognise that?

He has now asked what the government means by a private estate. The government’s answer was, “A private estate is a portfolio of assets owned privately or personally” (Lords Hansard 7 December 2011 column WA 165).