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The 700-year-old “veil of secrecy” covering the workings of the Prince of Wales’s Duchy of Cornwall estate will be partially lifted after a landmark legal ruling that could open up the Royal family to far greater public scrutiny.
The Prince of Wales, currently on a tour of South Africa with the Duchess of Cornwall, could be forced to comply with freedom of information requests in future after a landmark ruling
– Landmark ruling lifts ‘veil of secrecy’ from Prince of Wales’s Duchy of Cornwall estate (Telegraph, Nov. 3, 2011):
A tribunal ruled that the Duchy, which provided the Prince with an income of £17.8 million last year, was no longer exempt from freedom of information laws.
Since 1337 the Duchy, which owns 132,000 acres of land in 23 counties, has been the private domain of the heir to the throne.
But after a three-year legal battle by a local environmental campaigner, a judge decided that the Duchy is, in fact “a public authority”.
The decision means the Duchy, and by implication other royal assets such as the Duchy of Lancaster, owned by the Queen, must abide by some of the same rules of disclosure as local councils.