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Fact Check: King Charles III Reportedly Made $34M in Rent in 2023. Here's the Breakdown

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Claim:

From April 2022 to March 2023, King Charles III made $34 million in rent.

Rating:

Rating: True
Rating: True

Context:

The king's billion-dollar real estate profile, the Duchy of Lancaster, consists of four different categories of income generation: commercial, agricultural, residential and financial. While the monarch is entitled to the income generated by the Duchy of Lancaster, he is not entitled to the duchy's capital or to capital profits.

 

King Charles III, behind the pomp and circumstance, is still a landlord with a $1 billion real estate portfolio.

On March 2, 2024, a post on the popular subreddit "Today I Learned," which boasts 35 million members, claimed that "King Charles makes $34 million in rent annually" (archived here). The post received more than 15,000 upvotes, as of this writing.

Users hashed the claim out in the comments. Some questioned the purpose of a "parasitic institution," while others argued that the tourism revenue generated by the monarchy offsets its cost to the British people.

We looked into the claim, and found that the king did indeed bring in an adjusted net surplus of 26.2 million pounds, or approximately $34.3 million, over the course of the year ending on March 31, 2023, from his private estate.

While the viral Reddit post claimed that this amount was made "annually," the $34 million number can be traced to a report for the year ending on March 31, 2023. A similar report for 2023-24 has not been released, as of this writing.

The report was published by the Duchy of Lancaster, which has been the reigning monarch's private estate since 1399. It consists of more than 44,748 acres of rural land (roughly the size of Washington, D.C.) in England and Wales, commercial property in London, a portfolio of financial investments and some urban residential properties. The Duchy of Lancaster essentially acts as a money generator to support the extended royal family.

While the entire estate did bring in roughly $34 million in 2022-23, this income is split between four different forms of revenue: commercial holdings, agricultural holdings, residential holdings and financial investments.

 

(Image via the Duchy of Lancaster)

The duchy's commercial holdings, which make up the majority of the estate, are in "high value locations," with the Savoy estate in London and the Harrogate estate in Yorkshire making up the duchy's two key estates. Agricultural holdings, which comprise tenanted land, common moorland and in-hand woodland, make up the second-largest portion. In terms of residential properties, the duchy has 315 — 82 of which exist within farm tenancies. Lastly, the duchy's financial investments include equities, bonds and other investments. All together, the income generated from these holdings and investments totaled approximately $34 million in the year ending March 31, 2023.

While the monarch is entitled to this income, he is not entitled to the duchy's capital or to capital profits. He is also not required to pay corporation taxes, although he voluntarily pays an undisclosed amount of tax on his private income.

The report indicated a 9.2% increase in adjusted net surplus from the previous year, about 2 million pounds more than his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last did.

(Image via the Duchy of Lancaster)

While rent for Brits was increasing at its fastest rate on record, the Duchy of Lancaster also raised rents by 3% over the previous fiscal year, pointing to the "refurbishment and restoration of assets" as a reason for the "improved rental values" in the report.

In sum, because the net adjusted income generated from King Charles' private estate totaled just over $34 million in the year ending March 31, 2023, we've rated this claim as "True."

Sources:

Bradley, Jane. 'Britain's Most Famous Landlord, the King, Made $34 Million From Rising Rents'. The New York Times, 18 July 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/18/world/europe/king-charles-rent-increases-income.html.

Evans, Rob, et al. 'Revealed: Royals Took More than £1bn Income from Controversial Estates'. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/ng-interactive/2023/apr/05/revealed-royals-took-more-than-1bn-income-from-controversial-estates-king-charles-queen-duchies-cornwall-lancaster. Accessed 11 Mar. 2024.

Financial | Duchy of Lancaster. https://www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk/financial/. Accessed 11 Mar. 2024.

Royal Finances: Where Does the King Get His Money? 23 June 2021. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-57559653.

Sorkin, Andrew Ross, et al. 'Dissecting the Royal Family's Wealth'. The New York Times, 9 Sept. 2022. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/09/business/dealbook/britain-royal-family-wealth.html.

The Duchy of Lancaster. Report and Accounts Year Ended 31st March 2023. 31 Mar. 2023, https://www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/DoL-2022-23-Annual-Report-and-Accounts.pdf.