Prince William may have only just become the Duke of Cornwall, but his connection to the earldom goes back many years to his childhood.
Earlier this week, the new Prince of Wales, who is also the Duke of Cambridge and Cornwall, attended his first meeting of the Duchy of Cornwall’s finance committee since being given the title.
The royal father of three has now inherited the Duchy of Cornwall – the £1bn portfolio of land and property – after his father became king.
But his connection to the county goes back much longer than that — and includes happier vacation memories with his mom and dad Diana, as well as his own family.
Prince William may have only just become the Duke of Cornwall – but his connection to the earldom goes back many years to his childhood (pictured, with his father Prince Charles, brother Prince Harry and mother Diana in 1989)
The Duchy’s estate was established by Edward III to provide his son and heir to the throne Edward, later known as the Black Prince, with a private income, and its purpose remains the same today.
Charles took over the administration of the duchy when he was 21, following the accession of the queen to the throne.
Today the estate is a private portfolio of land, financial investments and real estate, including the Oval cricket ground in Kennington, South London, and 67,000 acres of Dartmoor.
And while it may be a new responsibility for William, he is no stranger to Cornwall, having grown up in the county.
The new Prince of Wales, who is also the Duke of Cambridge and Cornwall, attended his first meeting of the Duchy of Cornwall’s finance committee since being awarded the title last week (pictured, visit to the county for engagements in 2016)
The Duke visited Tresco Island with his brother Harry and parents Charles and Diana as a child in June 1989.
A photo from the intermission shows a seven-year-old William preparing for a bike ride alongside his family, with Diana standing behind him in a fuchsia sweater.
Over the years he also made several trips to the Duchy with his father, and Charles has long encouraged William to take an interest in his operation and his portfolio of land, financial investments and real estate.
The Duke first attended a meeting of the Council of Princes, which oversees the administration of the Duchy, in 2011.
In 2016, the new Prince of Wales, together with the Duchess of Cambridge, visited the Duchy’s projects in Cornwall and the Scillies
In 2016 he visited duchy projects in Cornwall and the Scillies with the Duchess of Cambridge.
Footage showed the couple boarding a boat to St Martins after visiting Tresco Abbey Garden.
In November 2017, he hosted two officers of the Duchy of Cornwall at Kensington Palace. Wills had a private audience with Alastair Martin, Secretary to the Duchy, and Keith Willis, the Chief Financial Officer.
In 2018, Prince William’s interest in the Duchy seemed to increase. He paid a private visit to Poundbury, Charles’s model village.
In recent years William has accompanied his father to Duchy of Cornwall meetings, delving into the affairs of the estate and movingly praised his father in last year’s ITV documentary on the subject.
Over the years, Prince William has visited Tresco a number of times with his own children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis
Speaking of the success of Charles’s stewardship, he said: ‘I have begun to think about how one day I will inherit the Duchy and what I will do with it. I think it’s very important, about the family corner, really.’
Elsewhere in the documentary, Charles admitted he was “practically brought to tears” after his son William expressed an interest in taking over the Duchy of Cornwall.
He said he was “moved” that William has taken an interest in the duchy.
“When I saw it I couldn’t believe it, I was deeply moved and moved by what he said,” said Charles.
Images showed the Prince and Princess of Wales boarding a boat to St Martins after visiting Tresco Abbey Garden
“It practically brought me to tears. Because I suddenly thought: well, I heard that from him, that has made the past 50 years worthwhile.’
Elsewhere in the same film, the Duke of Cambridge spoke of his ‘passion’ for farming and revealed that his children already play on tractors.
While visiting a farm in the Duchy, William said he should have brought his eldest child, Prince George, with him.
“He would absolutely love this. He’s obsessed,’ William said with a laugh.
William spoke to farmers about how important family is to the estate and how important the outdoors is to his own family.
In 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, William took his family to Tresco Island for a summer vacation, where they stayed at his father’s home, Dolphin House (pictured in the county in 2016)
“My kids are already playing on the tractors and… it’s so important to get out there and let the kids understand nature,” William said.
Charles’ eldest son said he is “very passionate” about farming and learning as much as possible at the Queen’s estate at Sandringham.
Elsewhere, William revealed that he would make the transition from his father to him go smoothly.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to rock the boat. I’ll do much the same as my father does,’ said William.
In 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, William took his family to Tresco Island for a summer vacation, where they stayed at his father’s home, Dolphin House.
William and Kate were spotted ‘enjoying the weather’ and stopped to greet their fellow holidaymakers as they cycled across Tresco, Isles of Scilly.
The royals decided to head to the island off the coast of Cornwall for a “quick getaway” before George and Charlotte returned to school, an insider said.
Dolphin House is only meters away from the sea, allowing Kate and William to take their buckets and spades to the beach with George, Charlotte and Louis.
The family took a bike ride around the car-free island and saw laughing and talking with residents.
And last year, Prince William and Kate enjoyed a family holiday in the Isles of Scilly for the second year in a row, before returning for the G7 summit alongside the now King, Queen Consort and the late Queen.
Back at Dolphin House they would have enjoyed complete privacy behind the 3m thick granite walls of the former rectory, and perhaps a barbecue in the large garden. There is an air of quiet luxury in the house, with its trimmed hedges and pristine subtropical flower borders.
After the Royals departed Tresco’s heliport on Thursday afternoon, a local onlooker said: ‘William and Kate both smiled widely and looked very happy and relaxed. Their bodyguards also had big smiles – it was obvious that it had been a very good holiday.’
An Isles of Scilly resident told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Dolphin House really is an idyllic and modest holiday home for families.
“Kate, William and the kids will certainly have loved how peaceful it is there, and the island’s inhabitants have made sure they leave them alone and not interfere with their journey.”
It remains to be seen whether Kate and Will will plan an annual trip to the area, as King Charles and Camilla did each year during their time as Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (pictured, earlier this year in Mousehole)
A royal source said: ‘They decided to take a quick break before the kids went back to school. They were eager to support our travel industry.’
In addition to their 2020 summer vacation in the Scillies, the family returned in October and stayed in a modest four-bedroom stone cottage.
And last year, Prince William and Kate enjoyed a family vacation in the Isles of Scilly for the second year in a row.
The prince and princess would have traveled there to stay with their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
They then returned for a second trip to Cornwall when they took part in the G7 summit in the area.
Prince William and Kate joined the King, Queen Consort and the late Queen, and they attended a reception at the Eden Project with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie and G7 leaders.
It remains to be seen whether Kate and Will will plan an annual trip to the area, as King Charles and Camilla did every year during their time as Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.