Dukes of Cornwall have traditionally managed their own estates. The current Duke is actively involved in running the Duchy and his philosophy is to improve the estate and pass it on to future Dukes in a stronger and better condition. The Prince of Wales himself takes a long-term stewardship approach and has proved that environmental and agricultural best practice are compatible with a sound financial return.
The management of the Duchy operates under the overall guidance of The Prince’s Council, a non-executive body chaired by The Prince of Wales. Several members of The Prince’s Council also sit as non-executives on one or more of the Duchy sub-committees, along with senior Duchy employees.
These sub-committees, which meet between two and four times per year, are: Finance & Audit, Rural, Commercial Property & Development, and Remuneration. It is through this structure that the requirements of The Prince’s Council are delivered to the executives and the resulting activities reported back to The Prince’s Council.
The chief executive of the Duchy is referred to as The Secretary and Keeper of the Records. There are a further seven members of the Duchy Executive Committee; the three Land Stewards who manage each of the geographic districts of the Duchy’s rural portfolio, the Estate Surveyor who manages the commercial & development portfolio and the Kennington estate, and the Poundbury Development Manager (each a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors); and the Finance Director and the Rural Portfolio Finance Manager, who are both Fellows of the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales. The Executive Committee meets four times per year.
Because the Duke of Cornwall is not entitled to have or to spend any of the Duchy’s capital (but is only entitled to its annual income) the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall (Accounts) Act 1838 gave the Treasury a role to ensure that actions taken by any Duke when managing the Duchy cannot compromise the long term value of the estate. The Duchy’s Annual Report and Accounts are subject to an external audit and are laid before the House of Commons and the House of Lords so that Parliament can be satisfied that the Treasury is fulfilling its statutory responsibilities.