Judge Lewis Kaplan’s recent ruling that Virginia Giuffre can proceed with her civil action against Andrew Windsor has helped shine a light on the murky world of royal finances.

Up to now Mrs Windsor has been bankrolling her favourite son via the duchy of Lancaster, which netted her an annual £20 million at the last count. Now that Andrew has fallen from grace, not only has he lost his sinecures, more importantly we’re told that his mother will no longer be footing his legal bills. He’s on his own. A private citizen. So how’s he going to pay?

It just so happens that Andrew has a £17 million Swiss chalet for which he has reportedly found a buyer. We’re told he’ll use this ‘private’ source of income and that he certainly won’t be dipping into the public purse and that makes everything OK.

Except it doesn’t. The assets they exploit, mainly land and property, belong to everyone. Common wealth. Common sense.


How did Andrew pay for the chalet when he only gets £249,000 a year for performing royal duties and which he will now presumably lose? He may have been helped by friend and multimillionaire Tory donor David Rowland, but most likely he used the proceeds from the sale of his house on the Sunninghill Park estate, which was given to him by his mother.

And how did Mrs Windsor find the money to build the house in the first place? Most probably from one of her four main sources of ‘private’ income: the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall; and the estates of Sandringham and Balmoral.

Charles traditionally pockets the £23 million profits from the duchy of Cornwall so let’s look at the duchy of Lancaster.

Eighteen thousand hectares of prime rural land in England and Wales plus a lucrative patch in the heart of Westminster, known as the Savoy estate. In addition, the duchy owns urban developments, historic buildings and a couple of golf courses, including Southerndown, part of the 1,500 hectare Ogmore estate.

The duchy was established in 1265 when Simon de Montfort, Robert Ferrers and other barons briefly rebelled against Henry III and lost. Their lands became the king’s property and so on and so forth until ‘their power being thus established, the chief of the band contrived to lose the name of Robber in that of Monarch; and hence the origin of Monarchy and Kings.’ Powerful words of English republican Thomas Paine from Rights of Man, written in the wake of the French revolution.

To make matters worse, the duchy is subject to neither corporation tax nor capital gains tax, even though it operates like a commercial land company.

Then in 2017 came the Paradise Papers revealing the duchy was holding investments in offshore banks in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. Investments in rip-off white goods retailer BrightHouse and a cheap booze outlet. 

The simple truth is that the royals have no private income and we are paying for Andrew’s mistakes, like befriending Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

Isn’t it about time we strip these parasites of their unearned wealth, turn it over for the common good and, in so doing, finally address the deep rooted inequalities of our society? 

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