Income and funding for Their Royal Highnesses from the Duchy of Cornwall and Sovereign Grant is down from £24.006million in 2020 to £20.839million this year, within this figure, Sovereign Grant funding decreased from £1.762million in 2020 to £0.424million this year.
Despite these challenges, the Household protected staff without claiming Furlough or other Government benefits.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have today published their Annual Review covering the period from April 2020 to March 2021.
Despite the pandemic, Their Royal Highnesses found new ways to keep up their work supporting Her Majesty The Queen and drawing attention to causes about which they are passionate. The report highlights a busy year of 348 engagements and meetings across 3 countries, 36 towns and cities, as well as 179 recorded video messages.
Much activity during this unprecedented year moved online, with The Prince of Wales virtually opening the first Nightingale Hospital in London and the launch of The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room on Instagram.
Once government rules allowed, there was no priority higher for Their Royal Highnesses than recognising the incredible work of volunteers, front-line workers and all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In February, Their Royal Highnesses visited Birmingham Hospital to see vaccine research in action and made several subsequent visits to vaccinations centres, including pop up sites at Finsbury Park Mosque and Jesus House Church. The Duchess met with Medical Detection Dogs to see how they are learning to detect the virus while The Prince took the opportunity to thank Transport for London Key Workers for their dedication throughout lockdown. Their Royal Highnesses also visited Soho to meet performers and those involved in the night time economy to learn how they had been affected by the pandemic. At the request of Her Majesty’s Government, Their Royal Highnesses also travelled overseas, paying a historic visit to Berlin to commemorate the National Day of Mourning and visiting Athens to celebrate the bicentenary of Greek Independence.
The Prince of Wales continued his work on Nature, People and Planet through his Sustainable Markets Initiative, which included more than 200 meetings with businesses now committed to cutting carbon use and accelerating the transition towards a sustainable future.
The Household continues to prioritise lowering carbon emissions with 100% of Household electricity provided by renewable resources. In fact, over the last 10 years the Household has reduced CO2 emissions by 3250 tonnes, which is comparable to driving a petrol car around the Earth 465 times.
Opening remarks by the Principal Private Secretary Clive Alderton at the Annual Review 2020/2 Media Briefing
Many thanks to you all for joining this video meeting to present our Annual Review of the work of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall for 2020 to 2021.
I’d like to begin by reminding everyone that all the financial information we are placing in the public domain, including taxes paid, relates to His Royal Highness’s private income from the Duchy of Cornwall. With the exception of a small number of costs including travel, this is not public or taxpayers' money. So it’s worth emphasising that The Prince of Wales is under no obligation to publish this information, but does so voluntarily simply in the interest of transparency and to give some account of the work Their Royal Highnesses have been doing over the past year.
So let’s turn to that work. The word ‘unprecedented’ is much over-used but is, I think, entirely accurate given the reality of the year on which we are reporting today. Because Royal service to this country, the Commonwealth and the wider international community has had to be completely reinvented, in ‘virtual’ formats. Given the impossibility of meeting literally thousands of people, as Their Royal Highnesses do every year, they gave clear instructions that as many duties as possible should simply ‘go digital’. And that we did, with everything from the ‘virtual’ opening of the first Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre to the launch of The Duchess of Cornwall’s literary club, The Reading Room, on Instagram. We became very used to – and increasingly comfortable with – mobile devices propped up on piles of books to attend video conferences and, along the way, we discovered some real positives. For example, in the absence of normal Overseas Royal Visits, The Prince of Wales conducted video or telephone meetings with numerous Heads of State and Government, ranging from the Chancellor of Germany to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan; from the King of Jordan to the President of France. When Covid restrictions disappear, we’ll retain some of these methods of working.
As Heir to the Throne, The Prince, with really fantastic help from The Duchess, has continued to balance his duties between supporting The Queen, and supporting the organisations, charities and initiatives with which he has long been associated. While the death of Prince Philip is just outside the dates of this Annual Review, you’ll have seen how the priority of supporting Her Majesty continues to grow in importance. This included laying the Nation’s wreath on Remembrance Day and taking a leading role in VE and VJ Day. These duties are interwoven, for both Their Royal Highnesses, with ongoing work such as combating climate change, social inequality, loneliness and domestic violence.
Needless to say, since most of this Annual Review is characterised by periods of Covid lockdown, there has been no priority higher than celebrating the incredible dedication and professionalism of the thousands of frontline workers battling the Covid pandemic. Several Members of the Royal Family, including The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, joined The Queen and Their Royal Highnesses in a video call to celebrate International Nurses Day last May. Their Royal Highnesses ensured this Royal recognition of outstanding public service extended beyond the heroes and heroines of the NHS to shop workers, delivery drivers, radio broadcasters, refuse collectors, cleaning staff (who could hardly have been more important in keeping public spaces safe) and many more, all of whom put themselves at considerable personal risk to keep Britain functioning. Their Royal Highnesses rightly described them all as magnificent. You will have noticed how at the turn of the year The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall chose in particular to support the vaccine rollout, with an emphasis on helping overcome vaccine hesitancy across all communities.
Whenever Covid restrictions evolved and it became possible to resume something looking more like “normal Royal service”, Their Royal Highnesses seized the opportunity and the Household team turned on a sixpence to help make it happen. All the organisations we worked with were brilliant at working out how their achievements could best be recognised, always – of course – working within essential Covid restrictions. This led to a double-decker bus ride from St James’s Palace to Covent Garden, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Transport for London, with the transport workers who have kept public transport moving throughout the pandemic. And there was a visit to Royal Mail teams just before Christmas, to recognise the additional pressures the pandemic was placing on the normal Christmas rush for postmen and women and, indeed, the less visible but equally essential Sorting Office staff. It also led to celebrating familiar companies doing unfamiliar things: at a critical moment, one firm of tailors who are By Appointment to The Prince of Wales turned their manufacturing over to the production of PPE and The Prince visited to thank and encourage them.
While the normal pattern of Overseas Royal Visits was severely disrupted, Their Royal Highnesses paid a historic visit to Berlin in November for the German Remembrance commemoration – the first time Germany has welcomed such senior British guests at this ceremony since the end of the Second World War, and testament to the close relationship Their Royal Highnesses have built with the President of Germany and his wife. There was also a visit to Athens for the bicentenary of Greek independence - with unexpected snow in March which tested everyone’s contingency packing skills to the limit! A small number of inward high-level visits was possible: Their Royal Highnesses welcomed President Macron of France to Clarence House, to mark the 80th anniversary of General de Gaulle’s founding of the French Resistance during World War Two.
Alongside these Royal duties, The Prince also dedicated a significant amount of time to his Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI). His Royal Highness is working with 300 global CEOs, representing $66 trillion of assets (for context, the entire world’s GDP is only a shade ahead, at $88 trillion), to devise practical solutions to the problems businesses face in meeting climate change targets. These are explained in The Prince’s “Terra Carta” document. (The SMI was highlighted in a meeting His Royal Highness convened at the G7 Summit, at the Prime Minister’s invitation, a couple of weeks ago.) Remaining with sustainability for a moment, today we publish details of how His Royal Highness has taken a personal lead in becoming energy efficient; saving nearly 3500 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the last ten years – that’s equivalent to driving a petrol car round the world a staggering 465 times. I am also proud to say 100% of the electricity used across all TRH’s homes and offices comes from renewable sources.
The Duchess of Cornwall also embraced on-line Royal duty with huge enthusiasm. As usual, Her Royal Highness did not shy away from difficult issues, including the terrifying impact of lockdown on those suffering from domestic abuse: reported cases have risen by almost 25%. The Duchess also recognised the serious consequences of loneliness imposed by shielding and self-isolating, particularly in the Festive Season with up to a million older people spending last Christmas on their own. And, in what turned out to be an incredibly poignant ceremony, The Duke of Edinburgh passed on to The Duchess his treasured role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles; one of the last times the public saw Prince Philip. Covid prevented many of the usual Christmas activities, so Their Royal Highnesses hit on the idea of recording “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” with a host of well-known actors, to lift our spirits and, crucially, also help raise money for all the actors and actresses who, with theatres closed, have been out of work for many months.
For my part, I can only hope that we will meet in person next year in person. For their part, Their Royal Highnesses will continue their work to support The Queen, their charities and other organisations, mindful of the lessons of sacrifice and service that have been displayed in myriad ways across this tumultuous year. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.