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Monday, November 1, 1999 Published at 02:26 GMT


Prince dogged by hunt issue

The Queen awards the Royal Charter to the Prince's Trust

Tony Blair has met the Prince of Wales amid growing controversy over Prince William's attendance at a fox-hunt at the weekend.

Fox hunting
The League Against Cruel Sports accused the prince of trying to "intimidate" parliament into shelving a ban on fox-hunting.

MP Mike Foster, who sponsored a failed Private Member's Bill to ban fox-hunting, told the BBC: "It's not a matter of whether it's a legal activity. It's a matter of the lead that someone very public like the Prince of Wales shows.

[ image: Prince William at the hunt on Saturday]
Prince William at the hunt on Saturday
"He's gone against the grain of British public opinion."

But the editor of Horse and Hound magazine, Arnold Garvey, called his comments emotional rhetoric.

"Prince Charles has got the freedom to go hunting, his son wants to go hunting, and why shouldn't he?" said Mr Garvey.

"He's a countryman and he really knows the issues."

Royal Charter

The issue is overshadowing what should be a day of celebration for the prince.

The BBC's Nicholas Witchell: "We've seen a rather rare connection"
The Prince's Trust has been honoured with a Royal Charter from the Queen in a rare live broadcast from Buckingham Palace.

Monday night's presentation to the Prince of Wales, who set up the trust in 1976, was broadcast on BBC television and BBC Radio 5 Live.

In a warm personal tribute, the Queen told her son: "I would like to take this opportunity to say to you, Charles, how proud I am of everything you have accomplished with the Trust and the way you, personally, have inspired this organisation."

In reply, the Prince thanked his mother for the honour, adding how proud he was "of every one out of the more than 400,000 whom the Trust has helped".

Watch the speeches by the Queen and Prince Charles
Mr Blair, footballer Ian Wright and singer Joan Armatrading are among the 500 guests, including politicians, sponsors and young people helped by the trust.

The Royal Charter is being awarded in recognition of the trust's work in helping young people develop confidence, gain skills and find work.

The evening ceremony is being co-hosted by David Akinsanya, who spent time in prison but became a BBC producer after being helped by the trust. It enabled him to start his career with a typewriter and a filing cabinet.

Tom Shebbeare talks to the BBC Radio 4's Today programme
Earlier the Queen visited a training project run by the Prince's Trust.

She met co-ordinators, workers and future residents of the scheme on a housing estate in Notting Hill, west London.

"I was struck by the enthusiasm, commitment and hope of the young people working on the housing project and also by how the Prince's Trust was helping to change their lives for the better," she said.

Trust chief executive Tom Shebbeare said the charter would show that the organisation was a long-term project, as charters are reserved for bodies that can demonstrate pre-eminence and permanence.

"It won't make any practical difference to the way we do business, but it will allow us to plan for the long term," he said.

The trust hopes to help a further 30,000 people start their own business in the next five years.

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30 Oct 99 | UK
Prince Charles takes sons hunting

01 Nov 99 | Fox hunting
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