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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Prince Charles bucks recession by spending more on staff and travel than last year... as his income from taxpayer rises 18%

-Charles's tax bill soars by £900,000 to £4,398,000
-Spending on travel up 56% to £1,080,000
-Camilla and Charles travel 34,000 miles on official trips

By Rebecca English

His future subjects may be tightening their belts, but when it comes to austerity Prince Charles appears to be setting a less than perfect example.

The Prince of Wales’s income rose to £19.7million last year, an above-inflation increase of 4.9 per cent in a year when the salaries of his staff were frozen.

In addition, Charles was able to claim tax relief on more than half the total by designating it ‘official expenditure’.

According to his annual review, published yesterday, almost £18million of his income came from the Duchy of Cornwall estate and the rest from Government grants.

The prince’s personal spending shot up by 50 per cent to £2.5million and his travel bill topped £1million, equal to £31.50 for each of the 34,287 miles covered by him and Camilla.

He also took on ten extra members of staff, bringing the total he employs to 159.

The prince did, however, pay £4.4million in taxes and help to raise £123million for charity, as well as making personal charitable donations of more than £800,000.

In the past 12 months he and Camilla have visited India, Portugal, Spain and Morocco at the request of the Foreign Office, which explains why his travel bill – funded by a Government grant – rose by 56 per cent year on year.

Included in his tax-exempt official costs are £6.4million on staff, £323,000 on entertaining and receptions, a 28 per cent rise, and £207,000 on office equipment.
Costs also included £155,000 on the upkeep of his gardens which, he argued, were

used for official entertaining. That was a rise of £30,000, or 24 per cent.

Charles’s 159-strong household staff includes butlers, valets, dressers, gardeners and housekeepers.

Of these, 133 support the prince, his wife and Princes William and Harry and the rest work on his gardens, farm and estates.

Five new aides have been taken on – three to work for the newly created households of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, one to assist with the Charles’s website and one as an estate worker at Highgrove, his country residence.

The other positions were temporary staff employed to help with the royal wedding, or temporary jobs which have been made permanent.

He also personally funds 17 estate, farm, garden and stable staff.

Charles gives a speech before a state dinner at Belem Presidential Palace in Lisbon, Portugal in March. The average cost of his official travel soared from £16.13 per mile in 2009/10 to £31.50 per mile in 2010/11

The Prince's non-official expenditure rose £488,000 to £2,539,000, in small part to cover expenses related to the Royal wedding between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April

On a thriftier note, Charles yesterday revealed his new official harpist, an unpaid position which will reward 24-year-old Hannah Stone with around £3,000 in expenses a year. The musician, from Swansea, is the fourth person to take on the historic role since it was reinstated 11 years ago.

Last night, the prince’s increased spending was defended by his private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, who insisted it was largely down to the ‘significant’ donations the prince makes to charities.

Sir Michael said the prince kept a firm reign on his finances, an assessment endorsed by Mike Warburton, senior tax partner at Grant Thornton. ‘I would say he keeps a fairly tight grip on his expenditure,’ he said.

‘Admittedly there are a few things that I would struggle to be able to write off for, say, the senior finance director of a large company. Clearly the taxman is slightly more lenient when it comes to the Prince of Wales.’

However anti-monarchist group Republic said: ‘Charles’s spending is spiralling out of control. Why are taxpayers funding his lavish lifestyle when public services are being cut?’

On the prince’s travel bill, Charles’s spokesman Paddy Harverson said: ‘This is not spending by the prince, it is spending at the request of the Government and the Foreign Office.’

The Duchy of Cornwall has paid almost £100,000 to Prince Charles’s sister-in-law to redecorate its holiday cottages. Its accounts reveal interior designer Annabel Elliot was paid £62,685 in fees and £35,920 for the purchase of furniture. Clarence House insisted she offered good value for money.

Charles and Camilla are welcomed by Morocan Prince Moulay Rachid (right) upon arrival at Rabat airport in Morocco earlier this year

Music to one's ears: A new official harpist to the Prince of Wales

A musician spoke of her delight after being chosen to be the official harpist to the Prince of Wales.

Hannah Stone, 24, becomes the fourth person to take on the prestigious role - which aims to foster musical talent in Wales as well as the raise the profile of the harp.

Miss Stone, originally from Mumbles, Swansea, was picked for the role after being nominated by her former university tutors and then going through an audition process.

She will make her debut performance tonight at a reception hosted by Charles to launch The Cambrian Mountains Ambassadors Scheme - before a string of performances during his and the Duchess of Cornwall's annual visit to Wales.

Hannah Stone, 24, becomes the fourth person to take on the prestigious role

The former Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr pupil has already performed on several occasions for members of the Royal Family.

Most recently, she played at the opening of the fourth Welsh Assembly for The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and Charles and Camilla.

She has also played for The Queen on Her Majesty's Jubilee Tour of Wales in 2002.
She said: 'I am honoured to have been appointed Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales.

'I found out about the news a few weeks ago and it has been very difficult keeping it quiet.

'The auditions process was quite surreal, because I was performing to a small panel. In some ways, it was more nerve-racking than playing to a packed concert hall or auditorium.'

A keen performer from the age of eight, Miss Stone studied under the guidance of Meinir Heulyn, head of harp at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Dance, before moving to London.

During this time, she was a prize-winner at a number of national competitions - including the Urdd Eisteddfod and the International Eisteddfod.

In London, Hannah studied with Imogen Barford, head of harp at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama - where she completed her Bachelor of Music degree followed by her Master of Music degree.

Since then she has performed in venues around the world, including the Barbican Centre and the Museum of London as well as performing alongside opera legend Dame Kiri Te Kanawa during the Singapore Sun Festival in 2008.

The post of Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales was reinstated in 2000 to foster musical talent in Wales and to raise the profile of the harp as an instrument.

Miss Stone follows in the footsteps of the current postholder, Claire Jones, who was appointed in June 2007.

source: dailymail


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