28 june 2011
UK taxpayers shell out more for Prince Charles
The annual accounts show that taxpayer funding for the heir to the British throne increased substantially in the year to March 31, along with his tax bill, while the eco-friendly royal’s carbon footprint shrank.
The prince’s office says Charles received nearly 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) from government departments and grants during the 12 months, 17.9 percent more than the year before.
Revenue from the Duchy of Cornwall – the 136,000-acre (55,000-hectare) estate established in the 14th century to provide income for the heir to the throne – increased by roughly 4 percent last year, to nearly 18 million pounds ($29 million). The 62-year-old prince receives the bulk of his income from the duchy’s properties and investments.
Charles paid almost 4.4 million pounds ($7 million) in tax, 26 percent more than a year before. His private, “non-official” expenditure rose 50 percent, to 2.5 million pounds ($4 million) – partly due to wedding expenses, the palace said, but mostly through charity donations.
Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, travelled 34,000 miles (55,000 kilometers) on official engagements in 2010-11. Charles spent more than 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) on air and rail travel, up 56 percent from the previous year, despite travelling fewer miles.
The prince’s private secretary, Michael Peat, said this was because 2009’s major foreign trip, to Canada, had been paid for by the Canadian government.
“So the cost didn’t appear in our accounts last year, but the carbon emissions did,” he said.
Prince Charles’ carbon emissions fell by 22 percent last year, from 5,120 metric tons of carbon dioxide CO2 to 3,986 metric tons.
Among the prince’s energy-saving measures are solar panels on the roof of his London home, Clarence House, a jeep powered by cooking oil and an Aston Martin car that runs on leftover wine.
The household of Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Prince Harry employed the full-time equivalent of 132.8 members of staff in the year to March, up from 124 the year before.
The palace said some of the increase came from temporary wedding-planning posts. Five new aides also have been hired – three to work for William, Kate and Harry, one to work on Charles’ website, and one to work at Highgrove, his country estate.
The palace said William and Kate’s engagement announcement in November drove a surge in the number of letters received from members of the public by the couple, Charles, Camilla, and Harry – 35,968, compared to 24,616 the year before.
The detailed accounts reveal that Charles personally wrote 2,164 letters during the same period, while Camilla wrote 1,374.
Anti-monarchy group Republic said the public wasn’t getting value for money.
“Charles’ spending is spiralling out of control,” said spokesman Graham Smith. “Why on earth are taxpayers continuing to fund his lavish lifestyle when public services are being cut?”
Buckingham Palace is expected to release figures about Queen Elizabeth II’s finances in the next two weeks.