Back in the year 1337, the King of England, Edward the Third, went into real estate. He didn't have to try hard. English Kings owned most of England anyway. But Edward wanted to give a little present to his son, so he created the Duchy of Cornwall – a whole lot of unproductive farms down in the bleak South West of England. It was more of a toy than a moneyspinner.
Today, the Duchy of Cornwall still exists. It's the property of the son of our reigning Queen. But the Duchy is now a very profitable business. In fact, Prince Charles, who is also Duke of Cornwall, will shortly be reporting an annual profit of 20 million dollars – and the capital value of the land he owns has shot up to 800 million dollars.
In olden days, members of the English Royal Family weren't expected to be smart with money. If cash was tight, they'd simply invade some other unsuspecting nation and steal everything of value. Ever since they lost the power to make war, they've had to be supported by the long suffering taxpayer.
Today the Royal Family is a high dollar-earning tourist attraction whose job it is to smile and wave, wear fancy dress and live in castles at public expense. The very idea that the Royals would know how to play the stock market, or make shrewd investment decisions, is ridiculous. Surprisingly, Prince Charles has bucked the trend. I say surprisingly, because the Prince has a dotty reputation for talking to flowers (it helps them to grow, don't you know). He's an organic food freak who can bore for Britain on the subject of sustainable farming. Little did we know.
Charlie-boy has turned out to be a smart operator. He saw the stock market collapse coming and bought even more land, dirt cheap. And all his preaching about sustainable farming was actually a very clever cover story to create a huge niche market just for himself.
Today, the Duchy of Cornwall makes massive profits growing organic ingredients for a whole range of special Royal food... like Duchy Original biscuits – they must be good folks, they cost twice as much as ordinary cookies! God Bless you, your Highness !
By Ed Boyle