Prince William is exploring the option of turning buildings of the Duchy of Cornwall—the estate that was set up around 700 years ago by Edward III to provide funds for the heir to the throne—into homeless shelters.
The Duchy of Cornwall is currently owned by Prince Charles, who uses the revenue gained from the property to fund his family’s charities. William will automatically inherit the estate when his father becomes king, but he is already heavily involved in managing the estate.
The Duke of Cambridge is particularly interested in looking at how the property could to used to help homeless people—especially since homelessness numbers have skyrocketed due to the effects of COVID-19.
“The Duke is interested in finding ways to help alleviate the homelessness situation in any way he can,” a royal source told The Telegraph.
Property owned by the Duchy of Cornwall stretches across England and Wales, comprising more than 130,000 acres of land in 23 counties. Much of the estate is made up of farms and long-term housing options; the aim is to have 4,000 homes occupy the land by 2043.
Prince William is reportedly focusing his efforts on properties owned in urban areas (there are many Duchy of Cornwall buildings in London, for example), as opposed to the farmlands in Cornwall and the Westcountry.
The plans are still in the early investigative stages, with many logistical obstacles to overcome before any official moves can be made.
Prince William has long championed the cause of ending homelessness. In 2005, he became the patron of Centrepoint, a charity that offers housing and support for young people across the UK—but his experiences date much further back.
In 1993, Princess Diana took William and Prince Harry to visit the homeless shelter at The Passage, a London-based charity that provides services to people without living facilities.
This past September, William spoke at a ceremony for The Passage’s 40th anniversary. “Over the many years that I have visited The Passage, first with my mother when I was just a small boy, I have developed a great affection for everyone who is here,” he said in his speech.
“Every time I come here, I am touched by your warmth and friendliness, and the dignity and respect you show to every single person who comes through your door.”
Caitlin Morton is a freelance writer based in Kansas City, with more than eight years of experience covering travel, pop culture, and fashion. Her byline has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue, Architectural Digest, AFAR, Real Simple, Thrillist, and many more publications.
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