Charles receives princely rise in taxpayers' money

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The Independent Online

By Jonathan Brown

While the rest of austerity Britain is learning to live with spending cuts, it emerged yesterday that one national institution enjoyed an impressive 18 per cent boost in the support it received from the public coffers last year.

The amount of taxpayers' money used to subsidise the activities of the Prince of Wales and his household rose to £1.96m from £1.66m over the previous 12 months. This included a 40 per cent rise in government grants to run Charles and Camilla's London residence and to fund the couple's overseas travels.

Charles also saw his private income from the 133,700-acre Duchy of Cornwall – which includes a lucrative investment portfolio – rise by 4 per cent to nearly £17.8m.

In a year which has seen the Royal Family ride a wave of popular approval after the widely celebrated nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton, anti-monarchy groups severely criticised the level of spending revealed in the annual financial review.

The Prince of Wales has long sought to battle complaints over his allegedly lavish lifestyle, and the report emphasised his philanthropic work and green credentials. As well as voluntarily paying nearly £5m in tax, it revealed his 20 core charities had raised £123m.

But the accounts, which cover running costs incurred by the royal newly-weds and Prince Harry, revealed signs of a slackening in fiscal discipline. The Prince's non-official expenditure rose 50 per cent, to £2.5m, partly to cover the royal wedding, though the bulk of that outlay is not included in this year's figures.

The total staff under combined household command grew to reach an equivalent full-time workforce of 158.9. Between them the Prince, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry now employ 33.5 private secretaries and assistants, at a cost of £2.8m, responsible for answering the 36,000 letters received last year by the family.