Several people expressed their anger online after finding out King Charles has been privately renting out a property which had been given to him by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. In 1953, the Edinburgh home was given to the Queen, and it had been managed by the UK government for 40 years. In the 1990s, the government decided to stop handling the Crown's properties and gave them back to the family for managing and maintaining.
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The house was divided into two flats, which are worth approximately £1.5m and £1.8m each, and they became an official part of the Queen's private estate instead of remaining a 'grace and favour' property. It is now managed by Canup Ltd, a company that also owns the King's lands and houses in Balmoral and Delnadamph in the Scottish Highlands.
The Guardian reveals that flats are being rented to private tenants at full market rates.
The property was managed by UK government for 40 years
Records show that the property was given to the Queen as an official gift, and in 1954 the house was registered as being held by a government department 'as the minister of the crown... for and on behalf of her majesty and her royal successors'.
According to the Guardian, the property was treated as a state-owned building for 40 years, and it was used as a 'grace and favour' home to receive dignitaries and employees of the royal household. However, in the mid-1990s, the UK government decided to stop handling 'grace and favour' properties and gave them back to the Royal family to handle their maintenance and management.
The home needed a lot of expensive work done
In the 1990s, when the Royal family took over the maintenance of the Edinburgh home, it discovered that the house actually needed a lot of work done, which was expensive. This resulted in many discussions about who should pay for the renovations amongst government officials. The former Department of the Environment offered £6,000 to pay for some of the renovations.
In August 1995, government papers show that the public was not happy with this arrangement, as the home could be considered as the Queen's own, and not a public building. Civil servants argued the Royal family would be 'asking for trouble' if it asked the public to pay for the renovations. After the home was given back to the Crown, the public assumed renovations would be paid for by the Royal family itself.
Mixed reactions from the British public
Following the Guardian's revelation that King Charles is renting out flats originally given to the Queen as an official gift, several people took to Twitter to express their anger and disappointment. Some Twitter users called the Royals 'greedy'.
Others argued the King should not be blamed for something that took place in the 1990s during the Queen's reign.
Andy Wightman, a Scottish land reform expert and former Scottish Green Party MSP, reacted to the news, and told the Guardian:
Since the property is now being rented out on a commercial basis as part of the King’s personal property portfolio, this historic understanding no longer has any validity.
He then added:
The king should pay a market price for the property to the government.
The Palace policy is clear on the subject, as official gifts are not to be considered as personal property for any member of the Royal family. This would mean that the Edinburgh home should not be considered as a part of the Crown's personal estate.
Express: Row emerges over King Charles renting out Scottish home given to him by late Queen
Guardian: King Charles renting out Edinburgh property given to mother in role as queen