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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
Prince's review - a PR offensive?

By June Kelly
BBC News royal correspondent

Prince Charles
The review focuses on Charles' public work
In 2002 the Prince of Wales had - to borrow a phrase from his mother - a bit of an "annus horribilis".

His grandmother, whom he adored, died early on in the year and by the end of 2002 he faced a barrage of bruising headlines over the way his household was run.

There were allegations of sexual misdemeanours involving staff, official gifts being sold off and generally all-round chaos.

His most senior official, his private secretary Sir Michael Peat, decided the Prince's household needed to be sorted out - and equally importantly it needed to be seen to have been sorted out.

This is how the annual review was born.

The first one was last year. That was noticeable for the first mention of the then Camilla Parker Bowles in a Royal document.

This year as Duchess of Cornwall she has made the front cover.

Creature comforts

The review looks like a typically glossy document produced by a large company - the Prince employs 135 people.

His aides... focus on the hundreds of official engagements he carries out, the thousands of people he meets and the mountain of correspondence which comes into and goes out of his office

It shows how a man with no formal job description spends his time and money.

When it comes to the money the figures are of course huge. Most of his nearly 16m annual income last year came from his Duchy of Cornwall estates - land in various parts of the UK not just Cornwall - which was given to him because he is the Prince of Wales.

From the British taxpayer he got nearly 3m.

The Prince has a reputation for enjoying his creature comforts.

Why, his aides were asked at a media briefing, did he have to take a chartered plane on a foreign trip earlier this year at a cost of 300,000?

Because it was the efficient way of dealing with the demands of his itinerary was the reply.

His aides obviously want to accentuate the positive.

Change in focus

They focus on the hundreds of official engagements he carries out, the thousands of people he meets and the mountain of correspondence which comes into and goes out of his office, with many letters written personally by the Prince.

In recent years there has been some exasperation in the Prince's household that the media have focused constantly on his private life and whether he was going to re-marry.

Last year he helped to raise 109m for charity.

His officials are on a PR offensive. Their boss is a lover of tradition and certainly bemoans many of the trends of the modern age.

But it is accepted in his household that in the 21st century the heir to the throne has to be seen to be open about how he spends his time and money and so now there will always be an annual review.

In recent years there has been some exasperation in the Prince's household that the media have focused constantly on his private life and whether he was going to re-marry.

Now that he has, the hope is clearly that there will be more focus on his public work.

Twelve months on from now we will see.


SEE ALSO:
Prince Charles makes organic plea
28 Jun 04 |  Berkshire
Royals signal tough media action
15 Jun 04 |  UK Politics


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