Prince William may still be a ways off from becoming the King of England, but the royal is reportedly already starting to think about his future legacy.
The Duke of Cambridge has been asking his team to start looking at the many buildings and properties that are a part of the Duchy of Cornwall to see how they could potentially be used to help combat homelessness, according to The Telegraph. The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate established by King Edward III in 1337 meant to provide funds for the heir to the throne, the Prince of Wales, a title currently held by William’s father, Prince Charles. “The Duke is interested in finding ways to help alleviate the homelessness situation in any way he can,” a source told the outlet, although the source added that this idea is still very much in the research phase. (It’s not clear, for example, if the buildings themselves would serve as housing or have another use.)
In the 2019 special Prince Charles: Inside The Duchy of Cornwall, William said that what he’ll do with that estate is something he regularly considers. “I’ve started to think about how I will inherit the Duchy one day,” he told a group of farmers. “Well, rest assured I’m not going to rock the boat; I’ll do much the same as what my father’s doing. I’m not so into the architecture — that’s the only thing.” (William’s father, however, has not used the estate to address the issue of homelessness.) Under Charles, the Duchy, which includes properties in London and 130,000 acres of land in 23 counties of England and Wales, has become a multi-million dollar fund that provides enough income to pay for both the Prince of Wales’s office and William’s family. “It’s not just a business — it encompasses everything [Charles] is passionate about,” Charles’s wife, Camilla, explained on the show. “You know, it’s the environment, it’s sustainability, it’s looking after the land, which I think it’s generations of families who I think feel sort of looked after and cared for, and I think he minds desperately about that.”
It makes sense that William would want to find a way to use all that capital to address homelessness as it has long been an issue close to his heart, as it also was for his late mother, Princess Diana. In 1993, she brought William and his brother Prince Harry to visit the homelessness charity Centrepoint, an experience that left a major impact on the young royals. In a 2019 speech commemorating the organization’s 50th anniversary, William told the crowd: “Centrepoint was one of the first charities of which I became patron back in 2005. I chose to do that because visiting Centrepoint’s services with my mother made such a lasting impression on me as a child, and it still makes a lasting impression on me today.” In 2009, the royal also spent a night sleeping on the streets of London with Centrepoint’s chief executive Seyi Obakin to bring attention to the U.K.’s large population of youth facing homelessness.
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