Clarence House issued the following statement today after the Times newspaper reported that The Prince of Wales had “gambled the future of his charitable foundation” on a property deal in Scotland that was part of the purchase of Dumfries House in 2007:
"The decision to buy Dumfries House and develop nearby land for housing involved, like any entrepreneurial activity, an element of risk, but the risks were manageable and fully covered. Returns on the property deal are already proving substantial.
"The purchase of the house and nearby land and the preservation of the house’s collection of Chippendale furniture for future generations was only made possible with the Foundation's contribution. The £20m loan taken out by the Foundation in 2007 was fully disclosed at the time and has since been refinanced and partly paid off. The purchase of the House has not put any of The Prince’s 20 charities at risk; indeed they all continue to deliver crucial services and support across a wide range of charitable needs.
"The value of the land bought with the property has since declined from what it was worth at the peak of the market - a reflection of a nationwide decline in property and land values which were not foreseen in 2007 – although it is still valued at £9m, well above the original purchase price of £268,000.
"Furthermore, there is no intention to sell the land; quite the opposite. The land will be developed as part of a major regional heritage-led regeneration project which the Prince hopes will play an important part in creating much-needed business and employment opportunities in East Ayrshire for many years to come. His Royal Highness is in this for the long term, for the benefit of the country's heritage and, he hopes, the local economy and communities.
"When The Prince of Wales commenced his property development at Poundbury in Dorset some 20 years ago, he was told that it would not work and was too risky. We believe that the same mould-breaking and beneficial outcome across a broad spectrum achieved at Poundbury will be repeated with the rescue of Dumfries House and the associated property development and economic regeneration plan at nearby Knockroon."