Royal aide in charge of Queen's cash gets knighthood

The man behind The Queen's private finances has been given a knighthood just days after the Paradise Papers revealed a series of embarrassing investments on behalf of Her Majesty. 

Mark Hudson has been rewarded for his service with a knighthood at Buckingham Palace today just two days after the documents revealed around £10million of Her Majesty's funds had been invested in offshore tax havens.

As fellow recipients of awards posed up for pictures wearing wide smiles, Sir Mark - who was not involved in those investments - opted for no publicity around his honour.

He is chairman of the Duchy of Lancaster, a 45,000 acre estate that has provided income to the monarch since 1399 and is passed down through generations.

Meanwhile others collecting awards today included Doreen Kenny who collected the George Medal for bravery on behalf of her late husband Bernard, who tried to save the life of MP Jo Cox when she was attacked by Thomas Mair.

The last surviving member of the famous World War Two 'Dambusters' raid was also honoured at the ceremony as Squadron Leader George Leonard 'Johnny' Johnson received an MBE. 

Sir Mark Hudson, pictured, who is in charge of The Queen's Duchy Estate which provides the monarch with income, received a knighthood at Buckingham Palace today just days after the Paradise Papers showed the estate had invested in offshore funds before his time in charge

Sir Mark Hudson, pictured, who is in charge of The Queen's Duchy Estate which provides the monarch with income, received a knighthood at Buckingham Palace today just days after the Paradise Papers showed the estate had invested in offshore funds before his time in charge

The Queen also presented the George Medal for bravery to Doreen Kenny, pictured, widow of Bernard Kenny, a pensioner who was stabbed while trying to save the life of murdered MP Jo Cox when she was attacked by Thomas Mair in Birstall in 2016

The Queen also presented the George Medal for bravery to Doreen Kenny, pictured, widow of Bernard Kenny, a pensioner who was stabbed while trying to save the life of murdered MP Jo Cox when she was attacked by Thomas Mair in Birstall in 2016

Thomas Mair

Jo Cox

Mr Kenny jumped on Mair's (left) back when he stabbed and shot Mrs Cox (right) and was seriously injured himself in the process

The estate controls around £519million of assets and last year brought in in nearly £20million in income.

Sir Mark, who was given the knighthood in The Queen's birthday honours, became chairman of the council that controls the Duchy in 2014 and was not in charge when the investments were made, but will receive his knighthood under huge scrutiny from the public given his senior role in charge of The Queen's money.

The papers revealed the Duchy held funds in the Cayman Islands and invested £5million in the Jubilee Absolute Return fund, based in Bermuda, which came to an end in 2010.

The Duchy also invested around £344,000 in 2007 in a US firm that used the cash for projects including the BrightHouse retail firm accused of irresponsible lending and the Threshers off-licence chain that went bust with debts of £17.5million to the taxman.

The Duchy now holds just £3,208 in BrightHouse and previously said it was unaware the firm was among its investments.

Those financial decisions were made when the Duchy was under control of former cabinet minister Lord Hutton of the Labour government. 

THE QUEEN'S INCOME: THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER ESTATE

The ancient Duchy of Lancaster is the Queen's private estate and provides her with much of her income.

It covers more than 18,400 hectares of land in England and Wales, made up of farm land, commercial and residential properties - mostly in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Lincolnshire - and also limestone and sandstone quarries, and foreshores.

It also has a portfolio of financial investments, including equities, bonds and other investments, currently with a capital valuation of £70.5 million.

The Duchy controls £519 million of net assets and we have now learned some cash has been invested offshore. 

Strictly speaking, the Duchy is not owned by Elizabeth II. It belongs to the Queen only in her public role as sovereign. 

The Queen voluntarily pays tax on any income she receives from the Duchy.

There is no suggestion that those involved acted illegally. 

A spokesman for the estate said all investments were 'fully audited and legitimate'.

But the fact the Queen has been drawn into the disclosure of 13.4 million documents which reportedly tie major companies and political figures to secretive overseas arrangements is seen as a major embarrassment for the officials tasked with running her finances.

Labour MP Frank Field, chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, has accused the council of the Duchy of Lancaster - of which Sir Mark is chairman - of 'political ineptness' with its investments.

He called for the council's resignation, telling The Times: 'We want a new board to safeguard the Queen, by having new councillors who would not let this happen.'

Squadron Leader George Leonard 'Johnny' Johnson, the last survivor of the famous RAF World War Two 'Dambusters' raid, was made an MBE by The Queen

Mr Johnson, 95, previously received the Distinguished Flying Medal at the Palace for his part in the Dambusters mission

Squadron Leader George Leonard 'Johnny' Johnson, left and right, the last survivor of the famous RAF World War Two 'Dambusters' raid, was made an MBE by The Queen

The funds from the Duchy also support Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne and to pay for the upkeep of Balmoral and Sandringham estates. 

The Queen voluntarily pays tax on income from the Duchy, which comprises farmland, commercial and residential properties.

Its lands are mainly in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Lincolnshire and include limestone and sandstone quarries.

The Duchy also contains the lucrative Savoy Estate in central London, Pontefract Castle, a pub called the Blacksmith's Arms and Harrogate Ladies' College.

The investments are managed by Newton Investment Management Limited while another firm, Stanhope Capital, acts as a consultant to maintain an independent watch over the financial portfolio.

THE HERO WHO TRIED TO SAVE JO COX

The Queen presented the widow of Bernard Kenny with the George Medal for bravery today in recognition of his efforts to save Jo Cox when she was murdered by right-wing extremist Thomas Mair.

Mr Kenny, 79, jumped on Mair's back when he stabbed and shot Mrs Cox in Birstall, West Yorkshire, only to be seriously injured himself when he was also knifed.

He recovered in hospital but died of cancer in August 2016 two months after the incident. 

Doreen Kenny collected the medal on his behalf following a campaign to have him honoured in which 80,000 people signed a petition for Mr Kenny to receive the award.

The former miner was also involved in a historic rescue attempt in 1973 when seven men were killed in a mining disaster in Yorkshire when it flooded. 

It is run by a council of seven men and one woman, including The Queen's treasurer Sir Alan Reid, who is the only current member who served on the council when the controversial investments were made in the Cayman fund. 

The Duchy council meets five times a year and makes an annual visit to Buckingham Palace to report on the finances. 

Meanwhile Mr Kenny's honour comes following a petition signed by 80,000 people calling for him to receive the George Medal.

The 79-year-old tried to intervene when Mair shot and stabbed Mrs Cox in Birstall, West Yorkshire, and was knifed himself during the struggle,

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV Mika: Hillary must stop preaching about sexual harassment
NEXT Deputy PM forced to deny sleaze claims