The principal office of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, where most of their staff work, is in Clarence House and other parts of St. James’s Palace in central London. The cost of maintaining the fabric of the buildings, as well as a proportion of the costs of utilities and fixed-line telephones, is met from Sovereign Grant funding. There are also offices for official staff at Their Royal Highnesses’ residences of Highgrove and Birkhall to assist The Prince of Wales with his continuing work. Some costs incurred at Highgrove and Birkhall are, therefore, charged to the ‘official duties and charitable work’ expenditure category.
Staff and Office Organisation
The Principal Private Secretary
The Principal Private Secretary is the senior member of The Prince of Wales’s and The Duchess of Cornwall’s Household and is responsible for all aspects of running the Household and for overseeing His Royal Highness’s charitable and other interests.
The Private Secretaries’ Office
The Assistant Private Secretaries facilitate and support The Prince of Wales’s and The Duchess of Cornwall’s official duties, engagements and charitable work. They are responsible for Their Royal Highnesses’ diaries, arrange briefing sessions, receptions and other functions, and co-ordinate research and briefings to support their work. Each Assistant Private Secretary is responsible for specific areas and for liaising with The Prince’s and The Duchess’s organisations. They also ensure that Their Royal Highnesses are kept informed about topical issues, provide them with background information for their correspondence and meetings, and prepare drafts for speeches and articles. The Assistant Private Secretaries are supported by researchers, personal assistants and administrative staff, and work closely with their colleagues in other Households.
The Equerry’s Office is responsible for the programme of engagements for The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The Equerry’s Office manages Their Royal Highnesses’ diaries on a daily basis and plans the longer-term programme. The Equerry’s Office also manages the logistical and transport arrangements for official visits at home and abroad. There are usually several overseas visits a year. The Equerry is a serving military officer seconded from the Armed Forces to the Household for a period of approximately two years.
Each year, The Prince and The Duchess receive thousands of invitations from a wide range of public and private sector organisations. Each is given careful consideration by Their Royal Highnesses and their staff. The Equerry liaises with the Assistant Private Secretaries, the Communications Office and key organisations to ensure that each year in their visits, The Prince and The Duchess cover a broad range of interests and meet a wide cross-section of people in as many parts of the country as possible. The Equerry also provides a point of contact for military and defence issues. The Prince of Wales maintains close links with the Armed Forces, not just in Britain but also in the Commonwealth.
The Prince of Wales conducts Investitures at Buckingham Palace and attends state functions at the request and on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. The Equerry’s Office is responsible for the arrangements for these engagements.
The Treasurer’s Office
The Treasurer’s Office is responsible for Finance, HR, Archives and Inventory. The Office is also responsible for information systems across the Household and contractual and legal matters.
The Finance Department exercises financial control through a combination of annual budgets, reforecasts and management accounts and through the application of policies and procedures, particularly for the authorisation of expenditure. It is also responsible for achieving the best value for money and works with the Master’s Department on procurement. The majority of the Household’s information technology systems are provided and supported by the Information Systems Management section at Buckingham Palace, with the Household’s cost met by The Prince of Wales.
The Human Resources Department ensures a highly productive working environment which enables staff to work collaboratively and supports learning and career development. It is responsible for all aspects of the Household staffing, including structure, search and selection, inward and outbound secondments, remuneration and benefits, training and development, internal communications and health and wellbeing.
Three Archivists are responsible for managing all the papers and files relating to the public life of The Prince of Wales since the late 1960s. The Keeper of the Archives also manages requests for The Prince and The Duchess to become patron or president of organisations, as well as requests relating to existing patronages and presidencies. One inventory controller and two assistants are responsible for the recording and safekeeping of gifts and assets owned by Their Royal Highnesses and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
As Heir to The Throne, there is extensive public and media interest in the activities of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and that of The Duchess of Cornwall. The Clarence House Communications Office helps to facilitate a better understanding of their work and activities. The Communications Office handles all media enquiries and proactive communications, including features, documentaries and events, for The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and liaises closely with Royal Communications colleagues in respect of general issues to do with The Royal Family.
The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge receive a large number of letters each year. In 2020-21, for example, 44,275 letters and cards were received. People from all over the world write to Their Royal Highnesses, although the majority of the letters are from the UK. Letters cover a wide range of subjects and are often prompted by current issues and debates. Their Royal Highnesses see a wide selection of the correspondence and reply to many of the letters they receive directly. The Prince personally wrote 772 letters in 2020-21 and The Duchess of Cornwall wrote 342 personal letters. Their Royal Highnesses ensure that letters not answered by themselves or their Private Secretaries are replied to by the Correspondence Section on their behalf.
Master of the Household’s Department
The Master of the Household is responsible for Their Royal Highnesses’ residences, offices and gardens, personal staff, receptions and all entertaining. The Master of the Household, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police, is also responsible for security.
Official entertaining is an important part of The Prince of Wales’s and The Duchess of Cornwall’s role. These occasions range from receiving official guests and foreign dignitaries to giving receptions of various kinds to thank those involved with The Prince’s and The Duchess’s charities.
The Master of the Household’s Department also includes Orderlies (who maintain office equipment and are responsible for office supplies, stationery and office cars) and Receptionists, and it has responsibility for health and safety.
Working at The Household
The Household of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall employs people across a broad spectrum of disciplines and skill sets that assist Their Royal Highnesses in fulfilling their prominent role in public life. As an employer, the Household prides itself on being committed to its staff and encouraging individuals to grow and thrive within the organisation.
The Household has welcomed summer internships, work experience placements and school visits, in order to provide a greater understanding of working life within this energetic organisation.
Of those who declare their ethnicity, 8% are from ethnic minority backgrounds. The Household recognises that our own workforce should reflect the communities that we serve and is committed to building an inclusive workplace.
Supporting people, organisations and communities
Support for people, communities and organisations is a major part of Their Royal Highnesses’ vision and work and a primary focus for their charities and engagement programmes. This year the Household supported Their Royal Highnesses in undertaking 348 engagements and meetings across 3 countries and 36 towns and cities in the UK and virtually.
Their Royal Highnesses’ engagements are intended to cast a light on excellence and achievement in communities across all sectors of society, to bring people together in support of community-based initiatives and endeavours, to promote and protect traditions that are shared and valued by people from many different walks of life and to act as a focal point for local and national unity and cohesion.
The Prince’s consolidated charitable structure of The Prince’s Trust group, The Prince’s Foundation and The Prince of Wales Charitable Fund has allowed renewed focus on providing youth opportunity, skills training, education and community outreach programmes to thrive.