Good afternoon and thanks for coming. I hope you've all had a chance to look at this year's Annual Review. It might be helpful for me to put a spotlight on a few areas that are, in my opinion, emblematic of the year as a whole and help to tell the story of 2017-18. As the Review says, this has been a year of celebration, commemoration and change.
I'm sure the rules of good public speaking advise against reading out long lists of statistics. I'll try to follow that rule, but I do just want to highlight one or two figures to set the whole year in context. TRH undertook nearly 620 official engagements in 45 counties across the UK and 15 foreign and Commonwealth countries around the world. Digging a little further into the detail, The Prince visited 10 Commonwealth countries in this year alone, supported by The Duchess on 6 of these visits.
Now, each year you hear me talk about the importance of the Commonwealth to Their Royal Highnesses. This year I want to put particular emphasis on the point. Their Royal Highnesses did not just visit Commonwealth peoples and their leaders this year; the leaders and impressive cross-sections of their people of course came also to visit us for the Commonwealth Summit, or CHOGM as it is known. That was a hugely successful event, with the UK Prime Minister receiving the baton as incoming Chair. While it falls just outside the frame of reference for this Annual Review, as you know, the Summit decided unanimously that The Prince of Wales should succeed The Queen as Head of The Commonwealth, in the fullness of time.
While all Their Royal Highnesses's work has been important to them this year, I want to highlight one or two global issues that have been particularly prominent. Sustainability and climate change have, for example, been constant themes of His Royal Highnesses's work for four decades, as he has worked to raise awareness of the ways in which changes to our natural environment are having a negative impact on the world around us. This is particularly the case on low-lying islands, including across the Caribbean. Attending the “Our Ocean” Conference in Malta in October, The Prince of Wales gave a key note address warning once again of the damage that is being caused by the dual threats of climate change and plastics pollution, as we stretch Nature to the limit.
Indeed The Prince saw Nature's response, when at short notice he decided to visit Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica and the British Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. HRH feels a strong sense of Family within the Commonwealth and, as he said at the time, "when your family are suffering you visit them". It's as simple as that.
Closer to home, the year was also punctuated by tragic incidents, including terrorist atrocities in London and Manchester and of course the heart breaking fire at Grenfell Tower. In the wake of these events, Their Royal Highnesses visited those who had been affected together with members of the Police, Emergency Services and medical teams who were involved in these difficult moments and whose brave work they wanted to recognise personally.
I'd also like to draw out the issue of religious tolerance and greater cultural cohesion, which the Prince addressed through an Easter message that was broadcast globally on Good Friday, reaching a global audience of more than 10 million.
In contrast to these sombre events, the year was also punctuated with moments of great joy within The Royal Family. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex became engaged. Their Wedding seemed to me a day when it was not just the sun that shone, but Britain itself shone, right around the world. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced they were expecting another child and The Prince of Wales's third grandchild, Prince Louis, was born in April. The Duchess of Cornwall celebrated her 70th birthday. The Prince of Wales is catching her up and of course celebrates his own 70th Birthday in November this year.
Now before introducing the film I wanted to briefly touch on the financial aspect of the report. You will see that income from the Duchy of Cornwall has risen to £21.7m and the tax paid voluntarily has increased to £4.85m.
You hear me say this every year, but let me say it once again: the Royal activities we will be talking about, the financial information we are placing in the public domain, including taxes paid, are all from His Royal Highnesses's private income from The Duchy of Cornwall. With the exception of travel costs, it is not public or taxpayers' money. His Royal Highness publishes this information entirely voluntarily, in the interests of transparency. In other words, His Royal Highness uses his private income to support himself, Her Royal Highness, his children and their own families.
In case you are interested in the relationship between private and public money, the taxpayer meets less than not 10 % of the total costs for Their Royal Highnesses year. In other words, they represent excellent value for money.
Now with those points of emphasis, please sit back and enjoy the short film we have prepared, to try to say in 4 minutes of pictures what we would need several hours to say in words.