As well as supporting The Queen in fulfilling her role as Head of State and acting as a charitable entrepreneur, The Prince of Wales also seeks to promote and protect the country’s enduring traditions, virtues and excellence.
Among other things, this work involves:
- Highlighting achievements or issues that, without his support might otherwise receive little exposure
- Supporting Britain’s rural communities;
- Promoting tolerance and greater understanding between different faiths and communities.
Throughout their many engagements each year The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall meet people from all walks of life.
The Prince’s work aims to promote and protect what is good about Britain and its people. This will often involve The Prince acting personally as a catalyst to facilitate change, to generate debate, or to raise overlooked issues.
Over the years The Prince of Wales has personally founded a number of charities and initiatives after he identified an issue and thought of a way in which he could help. These charities have worked in a wide spectrum of areas including supporting the UK’s farming community, encouraging further debate on issues such as the environment and highlighting the need for quality, affordable housing.
In all these areas, The Prince aims to encourage a public debate over what he sees as vital issues to the health of the nation while avoiding party political issues.
When issues become a matter for party political debate or the subject of Government policy, The Prince stops raising them publicly.
The Prince of Wales has worked for many years to encourage inter-faith dialogue, greater understanding of different religions both in Britain and abroad.
The Prince was christened in December 1948 at Buckingham Palace and confirmed at Windsor Castle in 1965. His Royal Highness chose to begin the day of his 21st birthday by taking Holy Communion in the chapel of the Tower of London.
As Heir to The Throne, The Prince of Wales is also Heir to the Sovereign's special role, dating back to the 16th Century, as Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
The Prince of Wales is a practising Anglican and attends church regularly with The Duchess of Cornwall. He frequently meets senior members of the Anglican Church. In March 2013, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby, at Canterbury Cathedral.
The Prince has long called for an acknowledgement of the strengths of other religious traditions, and for greater mutual understanding amongst the adherents of the world's different faiths. In 1994 The Prince said: "I personally would rather see it [his future role] as Defender of Faith, not the Faith”.
The Prince clarified this further in an interview in 2015, explaining that “I mind about the inclusion of other people’s faiths and their freedom to worship in this country and it’s always seemed to me that while at the same time being Defender of the Faith you can also be protector of faiths.”
His Royal Highnesses has undertaken a number of visits to meet communities from a wide variety of faiths. His Royal Highness has also highlighted the plight of Christians living in the Middle East, visiting those communities both in the region itself and in other parts of the world.
The Prince is profoundly attached to the traditional rites of the Church of England and to the Book of Common Prayer, which he described in 1989 as having survived because it was "sensitive to the profound human need for continuity and permanence"
In 2011, as Patron of the Bible Society’s 2011 Trust celebrating 400 years since the completion of the King James Bible, The Prince helped lead the nation in celebrations. The Prince took part in various projects and events to celebrate the anniversary including hosting a reception at Clarence House, attending a service at Westminster Abbey with Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and other 2,000 worshippers from around the country.
His Royal Highness is also Patron of a number of organisations that help maintain the vibrancy of church communities and preserve places of worship as well as organisations which encourage an understanding of other faiths.
The Prince's work to promote inter-faith dialogue has often overlapped with his efforts to support ethnic communities throughout the United Kingdom.
While travelling around the country, His Royal Highness meets with Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Jews and people from other faiths and ethnic communities and has always been greatly impressed by the solidarity and vibrancy of those that have made the effort to share and learn from one another.
In 2018, The British Asian Trust, established by The Prince of Wales to help communities in South Asia, celebrated its 10th anniversary.
As a farmer himself, The Prince of Wales cares deeply about the countryside and the welfare of rural communities.
Maintaining a healthy agricultural sector is vital to the country, not just because the landscape relies on the accumulated knowledge of farming communities for its continued stewardship, but also because the social fabric of the countryside depends on a strong farming base.
The Prince’s belief in the importance of the family farm in agriculture has led him to initiate a number of initiatives to help readdress the problems faced by communities in the countryside.
As Duke of Cornwall, The Prince is responsible for the management of a landed estate with many tenant farmers. He is Chairman of The Prince's Council, the supervisory body of the Duchy of Cornwall. The Prince puts a high priority on safeguarding the interests of Duchy tenants, and on long-term environmental stewardship, and regularly visits farms and tenants.
The Prince runs the Duchy Home Farm on the Highgrove Estate, a fully functioning organic farm. It acts as a show case for organic farming and regular tours are run for those thinking of converting to organic land management, supermarket buyers and others with an interest in the practicalities of organics. The Prince founded Duchy Originals to show that there was a market for organic products created using the principles of sustainable production.
The Prince is Patron of a number of organisations that seek to preserve rural communities and protect British agriculture including Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society, Dry Stone Walling Association, Lleyn Sheep Society, National Hedgelaying Society, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester (President) and the Welsh Black Cattle Society.
He is also Patron of the Soil Association and Garden Organic, both of which encourage organic farming and gardening.
The Prince’s concern for farmers all over the UK has led to His Royal Highness starting several initiatives to promote the produce of certain areas in the hope of increasing farmer’s incomes and preserving their way of life.
The Campaign for Wool was launched by The Prince in 2010, again to help struggling sheep farmers who were receiving nothing for the fleece from their sheep. The Campaign for Wool aims to promote the clear benefits of wool over synthetic fabrics and create more demand and help sheep farmers get a better return.
The Prince's Countryside Fund
The Prince’s Countryside was established by The Prince of Wales in 2010 and exists to improve the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life. Through partnerships and events such as National Countryside Week, the charity celebrates and promotes the value of the countryside.
Since 2010, The Prince’s Countryside Fund has given away over £9 million to more than 225 projects working across the UK, to improve service provision in rural areas, support farming businesses and rural enterprises, and provide training opportunities for young people.
The British countryside is a huge natural asset and to help ensure its future the charity works in a number of ways:
- By providing more than £1.2m in grant funding every year to projects across the UK that help to provide a secure future for the countryside.
- Leading projects, such as The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme.
- Commissioning research into issues affecting farming families and rural communities.
- Being an advocate for the countryside and bringing together individuals and businesses to help us tackle current challenges.
- Helping communities in crisis through our Emergency Fund.
The Prince of Wales enjoys the performing arts, especially music, theatre and opera.
The Prince and The Duchess regularly attend the theatre, the opera and concerts, in a public and private capacity.
His Royal Highness is President or Patron of more than 20 performing arts organisations, including the Royal College of Music, the Royal Opera House, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the English Chamber Orchestra and Music Society, the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, Welsh National Opera, the Purcell School and the William Walton Foundation.
The Prince founded The Prince's Foundation for Children and The Arts in 2002 to help more children experience the arts first-hand.
In 2016 His Royal Highness participated in Shakespeare Day Live, reciting the famous lines to be or not to be as part of 'Shakespeare Live! From the RSC' to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare
Every year, Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall travel abroad at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to further British diplomatic interests, raise the UK’s profile in the country visited and promote British excellence. The Prince of Wales also visits Commonwealth Realms on behalf of The Queen, who is head of state.
As an engaged Patron of the arts and a keen amateur watercolourist himself, His Royal Highness likes to create a record of these tours that goes beyond the limitations of photography and often chooses a tour artist to join the tour party at his request and own expense.
Official Harpist to The Prince of Wales
In 2000, His Royal Highness recreated the historic tradition of harpists being appointed to the Royal Court, by appointing an Official Harpist to The Prince of Wales.
The appointment of Catrin Finch, a Welsh-born student at the Royal Academy of Music, recognised the importance of the harp to the culture and music of Wales, and of supporting young Welsh talent.
The current holder of the role is Anne Denholm.
A key part of The Prince of Wales’s role is to recognise the achievements of individuals and groups who have made a contribution to national life. This might include head teachers, medical professionals, representatives of the emergency services, volunteers as well as groups and societies.
The Prince and The Duchess celebrate the achievements of these individuals in a number of ways, including visiting projects, writing letters of congratulation and hosting receptions or dinners. Groups as diverse as British Red Cross volunteers, World War II veterans, Olympians and nurses have been honoured in these ways.
When The Prince cannot attend an event in person, he will often send a message in another way, for example by writing a foreword for a programme, or a message to be read out, or by sending a video recording to be played on the day.
Finally, The Prince also presides over a number of Investitures each year at Buckingham Palace, where he, in support of The Queen, awards honours for service and achievement.