Four men have been charged over the theft of a gold toilet valued at £4.
8m, which vanished from Blenheim Palace in an overnight raid in September 2019.
The art installation, entitled America, was part of an exhibition by the Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said on Monday it had authorised criminal charges against four men, who will appear at Oxford magistrates court on 28 November.
The toilet, which could be used with a three-minute time limit to avoid queues, had only been on show for two days when it was stolen.
It had been installed as an artwork at the Oxfordshire palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, when it disappeared. As it was plumbed in at the time, its removal caused flooding and damage to the 18th-century stately home and Unesco world heritage site in Woodstock.
The statement toilet had in 2016 been fitted at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, where 100,000 people queued to use it. It was moved to Blenheim and into a chamber opposite the room where Churchill was born, for Cattelan’s first solo UK show in more than 20 years.
Speaking at the time of the theft, Cattelan said he hoped the theft was a prank and asked: “Who’s so stupid to steal a toilet? [The work titled] America was the 1% for the 99%.”
Blenheim Palace is the ancestral seat of the Duke of Marlborough. Before the toilet’s installation, the duke’s half-brother, Edward Spencer-Churchill, founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, said the lavatory would not be “the easiest thing to nick”. He told the Times: “Firstly, it’s plumbed in; and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate. So no, I don’t plan to be guarding it.”