Monday, January 30, 2006

After 32 years, a royal prince’s estate is finally taxed (and how!)

Queen Elizabeth's uncle, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was the last royal prince to have his baby picture taken on Queen Victoria's lap. He died in 1974, leaving an estate taxable at the rate (there was a real Labour government in those days, remember) of 75%.

Happily, a “heritage property” election allowed the Duke's executors to defer 75% taxation until the death of Princess Alice, the Duke's widow. She died in 2004, at the age of 102.

To pay the tax, Henry's son, the present Duke, put the family treasures (including Henry's christening present from Queen Victoria) up for auction at Christie's. They fetched a handsome sum, according to this Times of London report.

Read to the end of the Times article, and you also will learn why a Maori war dance was performed in the garden at Kensington Palace.

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