Royal bump-watch is well and truly under way – and here in Lancaster we have a special reason to be paying careful attention.
Kate and William’s newborn prince or princess will not just be the first royal baby to inherit a place as third in line to the throne of England – whether male or female.
When or if it becomes the King or Queen of England it will also inherit the Royal Duchy of Lancaster and in doing so, own a large portion of Lancashire including Lancaster Castle.
The history of the Duchy of Lancaster has its beginnings in a grant of land made by King Henry III in 1265 to his son Edmund.
Nearly a century later, in 1351, Edmund’s grandson, Henry of Grosmont, received the title Duke of Lancaster, and the estate became known as the Duchy of Lancaster.
The Duchy soon became one of the wealthiest bodies in the kingdom and today remains separate from all other crown lands, passing directly from monarchs to their heirs.
The current Queen – the Duke of Lancaster’s – personal fortune is derived largely from the 46,000 acre Duchy which is valued at around £350m – tax free. The Duchy is also able to exert the powers and ceremonial duties of the British crown in these areas.