Little Bits of History

March 17

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 17, 2017

1337: Edward, the Black Prince, is made Duke of Cornwall. Edward was born in June 1330 at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire to King Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. He was the first of nine children and the first to be made a Duke – in all of England. He was only two when he was made an Earl and nearly seven on this day when the first duchy was created for him. He became Prince of Wales shortly before turning 13. He served as symbolic regent three times while his father was away on campaigns. Edward married his cousin Jane when he was 31, which raised some eyebrows, not because they were cousins, but because Jane had been married secretly, then wed to another while her first husband was away at war. Her first husband returned, her second marriage was annulled, she had five children before becoming a widow, and then she married the future King of England.

Edward had four sons by various other women before he married Jane and the two had two more sons together. Their sons were born in France where Edward and Jane were the Prince and Princess of Aquitaine. While in Spain, fight to restore Don Pedro the Cruel to the Castilian throne, he contracted an illness which plagued him until his death ten years later. Since he predeceased his father, his son was next in line for the throne. His eldest son, Edward, had died at the age of five and Richard was next in line, a duty he assumed at the age of ten.

Today’s Duke of Cornwall is Prince Charles. The position is traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning British monarch. It is one of the two remaining duchies in England, the other being the Ducky of Lancaster. The Duke inherits possession of the duchy and the title of Duke of Cornwall at birth, or when his parent assumes the throne. He is not, however, permitted to sell assets for personal benefit and also has limited rights and income when still a minor. If the King/Queen of England has no male children, the rights and responsibilities return to The Crown and there would be no current Duke.

The Duchy lands cover 135,000 acres, mostly in Devon with other holdings in Cornwall, Herefordshire, Somerset, and the Isles of Scilly. There is an associated investment portfolio which was valued at £763 million in 2013 and showed an annual profit of £19 million. The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate of the British monarch so today, belongs to Queen Elizabeth II. This is a smaller holding of about 45,550 acres and along with a portfolio is worth about £472 million. The annual income is £16 million. The Prince and the Queen voluntarily pay income tax on earning, minus expenses, from their holdings.

Something as curious as the monarchy won’t survive unless you take account of people’s attitudes. After all, if people don’t want it, they won’t have it.

Do you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of Wales in history not to have a mistress?

Perhaps it has been too uncomfortable for those with vested interests to acknowledge, but we have spent the best part of the past century enthusiastically testing the world to utter destruction; not looking closely enough at the long-term impact our actions will have.

I sometimes wonder if two thirds of the globe is covered in red carpet. – all from Prince Charles

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