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Duchy of Lancaster

From Academic Kids

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The standard of the Duchy of Lancaster

The Duchy of Lancaster is one of the two Royal Duchies in the United Kingdom, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall.

The Duchy of Lancaster was created for John of Gaunt, a younger son of King Edward III of England, when John had acquired its constituent lands through marriage to the Lancaster heiress. Despite the name, the duchy is effectively a property company (though it pays no corporation tax), and it consists of lands in many parts of England, as well as large holdings in Lancashire.

The Duchy has retained some rights in respect of Lancashire. The Local Government Act 1972 extended this to the whole of Greater Manchester and Merseyside (but not to any of the other counties - Cheshire and Cumbria that inherited part of Lancashire's historic territory). For example, the appointment of Sheriffs is handled very differently.

The duchy is not the property of The Crown, but is instead the personal (inherited) property of the monarch and has been since 1399, when the Dukedom of Lancaster, held by Henry of Bolingbroke, merged with the crown on his appropriation of the throne (after the dispossesion from Richard II).

The Loyal Toast, 'The Queen, the Duke of Lancaster' is still in regular use within the Duchy.

The chief officer of the Duchy is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a high position which is sometimes a cabinet post. Since, for at least the last two centuries, the estate being run by a deputy, the Chancellor rarely has had any significant duties pertaining to management of the Duchy itself, he is usually available as a minister without portfolio.

The monarch derives the Privy Purse from the revenues of the Duchy. The lands of the Duchy are not to be confused with the Crown Estate, whose revenues have been handed to the Treasury in exchange for receiving a yearly civil list payment since the 18th century.

Both the Duchy of Lancaster and its counterpart in Cornwall have special statutory rights not available to other estates held by Peers: for example, the rules on Bona Vacantia operate in favour of the holder of the Duchy (as opposed to the Crown generally), and there are separate Attorneys General for the estates. Generally, though, the exemptions all tend to follow the same line: any rights pertaining to the Crown generally in most areas of the country instead pertain to the Duke of the Duchy. Generally, any Act of Parliament relating to these sorts of rights will specifically set out the special exemptions for the two Duchies and specify the extent to which they apply to the Duchy.

External Link

Duchy of Lancaster Official Website (http://www.duchyoflancaster.org.uk/output/page1.asp)

See also

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