And what was this letter about? It refers to an application by Prince Charles (under his title of His Royal Highness etc...) to register his ownership of the mines and minerals in the Manor of Stoke Climsland in which our property lies. By way of explanation, sometime in the mid 1300s the Duchy of Cornwall took upon itself to claim all the mineral and mining rights in Cornwall. These passed into law in 1846 following the passage of the Duchy of Cornwall (No 2) Act in 1844. This means that Prince Charles (under his title of etc....) has the right to mine and extract minerals from our property. We've always known this and it's a feature of living in Cornwall. So why the letter now? The Duchy has said it is having to officially register its ancient rights as part of a new drive by the Land Registry to record all mineral rights by October 2013. "The Duchy of Cornwall is having to register its mineral rights with HM Land Registry in order to preserve them for the future," a Duchy spokesman has said "This does not mean that the Duchy has any intention at this time to work the minerals. The Duchy has owned these mineral rights for many centuries - it is simply a case of the Duchy registering its existing rights." Well, that's alright then. No, it certainly is not.
We are given two options. Give our consent, in which case we can tell them by e-mail. Or we can object, in which case we have to register our objection in writing, giving chapter and verse of the legal basis of our objection and proof that we own the property in question. Not that they want to make it difficult to object, of course. My first reaction to the letter was one of surprise (why now?) followed very quickly by quiet outrage. This is 2013 and something so archaic and feudal has absolutely no place in a so-called modern democracy. This point will be the basis of my objection.
The Duchy of Cornwall enjoys a curious variety of rights. Some of them might be regarded as “charming” by some but many are the source of real economic benefit and give the Duchy a privileged position with regard to both the creation and application of law. To we republicans, it is unarguable that the Duchy should be subject to greater public scrutiny and stripped of its privileges. Until that happy day dawns, oi, Charley Boy, get orff my lawn!
|I say, chaps, wouldn't it be spiffing if we started digging in the middle of the Parsons' lawn?|
|Such japes! Time to don one's Bob the Builder's hat.|