2018-19 was a momentous year for Their Royal Highnesses in which they celebrated The Prince’s 70th birthday, the marriage of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Commonwealth Leaders’ unanimous confirmation of The Prince of Wales as the next Head of The Commonwealth, in succession to The Queen.
Turning seventy is a moment of reflection and, perhaps, a point when some people might consider slowing down, but, as The Duchess herself said, The Prince shows absolutely no signs of doing so. That was borne out by another year of more than 600 engagements across 14 Commonwealth and foreign countries in support of The Queen and Their Royal Highnesses’ own priorities. Within the UK, Their Royal Highnesses visited over 80 towns and cities including Liverpool, Salisbury, Peterhead, Llandudno and Coleraine.
It was a year in which their philanthropic work focused on a variety of topics, from climate change and craft skills preservation, to domestic violence and literacy. His Royal Highness saw his recently consolidated charities - The Prince’s Trust and The Prince’s Foundation, alongside The Prince’s Charitable Fund, go from strength to strength raising over £90m over the course of the year.
The Prince’s Trust appointed Lionel Richie as its new Global Ambassador and HRH The Aga Khan as Global Founding Patron. Meanwhile in The Prince’s Foundation’s first year it completed the new Braemar Visitor Centre and the Dumfries House Health and Well-being Centre that provides services free of charge to the local East Ayrshire community. During the year, The Prince’s Fund gave out almost £6 million in grants helping organisations as diverse as Penny Brohn UK which received £245,000 for cancer support services for BAME communities in Bristol. There was also the Watermill Foundation supporting cycling activities for disabled people in Scotland.
Her Royal Highness, meanwhile, continued to support her many charitable organisations. The Duchess has, for several years, focussed particularly on issues around sexual assault and domestic violence. In April last year, Her Royal Highness attended a Women’s Forum meeting at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London about domestic abuse across the Commonwealth where she gave a speech about “the hidden problem” of domestic abuse. As Patron of the Women of the World Festival, Her Royal Highness also hosted events in Ghana, Nigeria and Barbados.
Another of The Duchess’s key areas of interest continues to be that of literacy and literature. In June Her Royal Highness once again took on the role of “Fairy Godmother” for the final of the BBC’s 500 Words writing competition, which took place at Hampton Court Palace. Later in the year, The Duchess hosted an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction at Buckingham Palace. Whilst on tour she also attended events to celebrate The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition in Ghana and St Vincent.
In November, The Prince’s birthday provided an opportunity to look back over not just one year but the last half-century of work that The Prince has done to try to make a difference to the people and places he has visited around the world. Described on his birthday by The Queen as ‘A true Duchy Original’, and by The Duchess, as ‘a very exceptional man’, there were warm tributes from politicians and community leaders as well as other members of his own family,
At an event in May at Buckingham Palace, The Duke of Sussex spoke of his father’s work saying “You have inspired William and I, and…it is clear to see that we are not alone. You have created an incredible body of work that has, and will continue to make such a huge difference to so many people's lives.”
The year ended as it began with an overseas tour, this time to the Caribbean. It was a trip that included a Royal first with a visit to Cuba. Throughout these tours, there were chances to make friends in new destinations as well as to celebrate the longstanding ties that bind the nations of The Commonwealth together and continue to make it such a unique and extraordinary organisation.
Engagements undertaken by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
Letters and cards received by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
Opening Remarks to the Annual Review briefing by The Principal Private Secretary to TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, Clive Alderton, CVO.
Good afternoon everyone and a very warm welcome indeed to Clarence House, thank you again to all of you for making the time to come and attend this briefing on the work of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall over the past year. Those of you who were here last year will remember that we have been in the process of updating the way that we produce the information for our Annual Review and this year, the whole narrative is going to be included in a short film, which we will watch together on the screen in just a moment. It builds on the success of last year’s film, which I think Julian said had around a million views, which clearly reaches a larger audience than the old print version was able to and is clearly a more sustainable way of presenting the information. Needless to say it is to be seen alongside the Income and Expenditure Report, which I hope you have all had a chance to read. Now since the film literally speaks for itself, you will be glad to know I’m not going to say much by way of introduction, but in case it’s helpful, I thought that it might be useful for me just to pick out the elements that seem to me emblematic of the wider story.
It is probably worth setting all of this in context of the headline figures. Their Royal Highnesses as you will have seen, undertook 638 official engagements last year, which was slightly up on last year’s already very high figure, crisscrossing the whole United Kingdom. In addition, Their Royal Highnesses visited 14 Commonwealth and foreign countries, in support of Her Majesty The Queen, since The Queen is now not undertaking so many state visits overseas.
There were plenty of highlights and I am sure we will all have our own highlights over the course of last year, but I think the events that stick out most in my mind include first of all that fantastic day down at Windsor last May when Prince Harry was married to Meghan Markle, secondly the unanimous decision of 53 Commonwealth Heads of State of Government to invite The Prince of Wales to succeed Her Majesty The Queen, in the fullness of time, as Head of the Commonwealth. As I said to The Prince at the time, it is not bad to win an election and with 100% approval rating, really isn’t bad at all.
There was also, I think, the really touching way in which so many people in this country and around the world, chose to mark The Prince’s 70th birthday last November. And I think it is worth pausing on that for a moment to say that that particular event reminded all of us in the Household of just how prescient The Prince has been on issues such as climate change, on plastics, social inequality, the list goes on of course. These are all mainstream now, but they certainly weren’t when The Prince made his first speech on the environment back in 1968.
Alongside all of this, both Their Royal Highnesses have continued to support The Queen in what could be described as state activity. As you will have seen, The Prince of Wales laid the Nation’s wreath again on behalf of The Queen on the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, he later hosted a tea for The President of Germany before we all headed off to Westminster Abbey to celebrate the Centenary of the 1918 Armistice, of which The Prince and The President of course gave really moving readings. Their Royal Highnesses also attended important commemorations in Omagh and Nice during the year.
The Duchess of Cornwall, meanwhile, has continued to support her many charitable organisations, and for me two areas of her work that stand out particularly are first, literacy and literature. As you will see in the film in a moment, The Duchess supported BBC 500 Words writing competition for children, she hosted the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker prize for fiction at Buckingham Palace, and overseas, hosted events to celebrate The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition in Africa and again in The Caribbean. The second area that really stands out for me, is The Duchess’s work to combat sexual assault and domestic violence, now for obvious reasons not all of this is done in full public gaze, but alongside all her private work in this difficult but hugely important area, you may have noticed The Duchess leading discussion on domestic abuse across the Commonwealth and a Women’s Forum during the Commonwealth Summit last Spring.
Now if I can just look inside the operation for a moment, you may remember I talked a bit last year about our work to consolidate The Prince’s sixteen core charities into a smaller, more cohesive group. The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Foundation and The Prince’s Charitable Fund. I am pleased to report that these new arrangements are going down really well and have raised over £90 million in the last year, notwithstanding the uncertainties of the economic climate. The Prince’s Trust goes from strength to strength, and has now provided opportunity, and crucially developed self-esteem, for almost one million young people. It is worth just pausing over that figure for a moment, one million young people. The Prince’s Fund is also dealing in the millions, it made grants of over £5 million to charity this year alone. And many of you would have seen the work of The Prince’s Foundation when you came up to Dumfries House in Ayrshire a few months ago, and I can only say how delighted we were to host you all there.
Now before playing the film, let me just touch briefly on financial aspects of the report. You will see that income from The Duchy of Cornwall has remained pretty constant at £21.6 million and the tax paid voluntarily is equally pretty constant at £4.7 million. Lastly, let me just repeat as I do every year, that the Royal activities we will be talking about and the financial information that we’re placing in the public domain, including the taxes paid, are all from The Prince of Wales private income from The Duchy of Cornwall, with the exception of a small number of costs. It is not public or the taxpayer’s money. The Prince of Wales publishes this information entirely voluntarily in the interest of transparency. In other words, The Prince of Wales continues to use his private income to support himself, The Duchess of Cornwall, his children, The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge, and their families. Ladies and Gentleman, I am sure that’s quite enough from me, so let’s watch this short film together. And then I will be very happy to answer any questions.