Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation halves donations in past year

Total given to causes drops from £7.7m to £3.1m in 12 months to March 2017 as heir to the throne takes on more of Queen’s responsibilities

The Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, the grant-making body founded by Prince Charles, has more than halved its donations to causes in the last year as the royal heir takes on more of the Queen’s responsibilities.

Accounts in a report filed by the foundation to Companies House show that the total provided to worthy causes dropped to £3.1m in the 12 months till March 2017 from £7.7m in 2016.

“The Prince’s charities are periodically reviewed to ensure they continue to deliver the greatest benefit possible for the people that they have been set up to help,” a Clarence House spokesperson said.

“The approach of the prince’s 70th birthday [on 14 November] provided a sensible opportunity to review his charities to ensure that they continue to deliver the maximum benefit for those people they were set up to help.

“The review was also designed to ensure the prince’s personal involvement was at the right level and had the right focus,” they added.

The Companies House report said there had been a strategic review throughout the year and it was expected that plans to award new grants would be developed next year since the body had met its free reserves target of £7.5m.

It said: “The purpose of the review was to ensure that the structure of the charities and HRH’s ongoing involvement in supporting and promoting their work, was optimally positioned for the future.”

The prince has now spent longer as heir to the throne than any other heir apparent in the history of the British monarchy. He attended 546 engagements in the past year, more than any other member of the royal family.

Meanwhile the Queen, 91, is delegating more of her responsibilities as she seeks to lower her workload. Earlier this year her husband, Prince Philip, 96, retired from public life.

It is understood Charles will attend this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia in place of his mother.

Almost half the charitable foundation’s income comes from Duchy Originals Ltd, the organic food brand sold in Waitrose, and AG Carrick Ltd, its trading arm, named after the pseudonym used by Charles to display his watercolours.

Donations from the companies, which are both ultimately owned by the heir, remained steady; however, donations from other sources – which allow the foundation to dispense donations on their behalf – fell, resulting in a 15% decrease in income overall.

The foundation gives to a variety of organisations including those related to environmental conservation, educational initiatives and agriculture development. It says it aims to transform lives and build sustainable communities.

It was founded in 1979 and works with the 13 charities that make up the Prince’s Charities Group. Others include the Royal Drawing School and the British Asian Trust.

Clarence House elicited controversy in 2011 when it was found AG Carrick made no charitable donations in 2011 despite turning over £4.35m in the two years prior.

In 2010, the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, the health charity of which Charles was president, was wound up by its trustees following an alleged fraud and money-laundering scandal at the organisation.


Mattha Busby

The GuardianTramp

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