Tue, Jul 01, 2003 - Page 7 News List

Prince of Wales opens the booksto prove his value

VALUE FOR MONEY?Defensive report shows that the heir to Britain's throne receives British Pound 3 million from taxpayers and has 97 servants and staff

THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

Figures released for the first time show the Prince of Wales receives pounds sterling

British Pound 3 million (US$4.95 million)from British taxpayers, in addition to an income just short of pounds sterling

British Pound 10 million (US$16.5 million) from his official estates.

The statistics, published in a glossy 26-page brochure yesterday, detail the costs of the prince's office and his finances as part of an offensive to demonstrate the heir to the throne's value for money.

The report -- and an accompanying brochure outlining the prince's charitable activities, claiming he raised at least British Pound 70m (US$115.5 million) for charity last year -- is intended to offset ferocious public criticism of his lifestyle, in the wake of the royal butler trials last year.

A spokesman said, "He doesn't have a string of cars, he doesn't collect art, he doesn't have a villa in the south of France."

But he does employ 97 servants and staff. Although the report does not indicate which of the 97 (equivalent to 91 full-time staff) squeezes out the royal toothpaste, it does say that most staff costs are met from his Duchy of Cornwall (his official estates) income.

The report says the prince employs 17 personal servants, including valets and butlers, a chef, grooms, gardeners and estate workers at Highgrove in Gloucestershire.

Defensively, the report's introduction says, "The Prince of Wales participates in and contributes to national life across a wide spectrum. As heir to the throne, he is committed to making a difference for the better in this country and internationally and to using his position to draw attention to and foster the nation's talents and traditions."

It says he carries out 500 engagements each year and is patron of 350 charities. His office receives 50,000 letters a year and the prince personally writes 2,500 letters.

Last year he also gave 15 speeches, sent 19 video messages and wrote 278 supportive messages, gave 100 receptions and entertained 11,000 official guests.

The Duchy of Cornwall estate provided the bulk of the prince's income. It has provided income for the Prince of Wales, who is also the duke of Cornwall, since 1377.

The land cannot be sold but the trust which gives the prince his income is overseen by the Treasury.

He can use the money, though, at his own discretion.

Stretching over 57,088 hectares of land in 25 counties, mostly agricultural and mainly in the southwest but also including such choice parts of London as the Oval cricket ground, the duchy provided Prince Charles with an income of

Government grants to help the cost of his official duties amounted to just under British Pound 2.8 million.

Of the other grants, there was

British Pound 2.2 million to pay for the renovation of Clarence House, the Queen Mother's former home, into which the prince is moving later this summer from his current, more cramped, London residence just across the road at St James's Palace.

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