Latest Channel 4 News:
Row over Malaysian state's coins
'Four shot at abandoned mine shaft'
Rain fails to stop Moscow wildfires
Cancer blow for identical twins
Need for Afghan progress 'signs'

Prince's charities 'not at risk'

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 09 September 2010

In 2007 Prince Charles' charitable foundation borrowed £20m to ensure Dumfries House remained in public hands.  Despite plummeting land prices, Clarence House has told Channel 4 News the deal has not put any of The Prince's charities at risk.

Dumfries House is an 18th century stately home filled with a unique collection of Chippendale furniture. In 2007 the property, and its contents, were on the verge of being sold privately.

At the last minute a deal, involving the Prince of Wales, was done to keep Dumfries House in public hands. But according to The Times The Prince has now fallen victim to plummeting land prices.

The Prince's charities foundation borrowed £20m to put towards the cost of saving Dumfries House.  The security for the loan was a piece of nearby land. This was bought for less than £300,000. 

Since then planning permission has been granted for the plot and it is now worth £8m. But that figure is well below predictions made 3 years ago and comes nowhere near covering the £20m loan.

Prince Charles saved Dumfries House before he had ever visited it. In 2008 the Prince told Channel 4 News why he decided to take action: "Everything I'd heard about it, I knew it was obviously very special.  I'd seen the photographs, I knew what it contained. I didn't need to see it, I didn't have time to see it.

"There are very few houses like this left which still have that integrity about them. I thought I couldn't bear to see another house denuded of its contents. They would have gone for an enormous amount of money at auction and then been left with a would have become one of these desperate, tragic houses and never brought to life again."

But despite falling land values a spokesman for Clarence House told Channel 4 News the deal had not put any of the Prince's 20 charities at risk: "The purchase of the house and nearby land and the preservation of the house’s collection of Chippendale furniture for future generations was only made possible with the Foundation's contribution.

"The £20m loan taken out by the Foundation in 2007 was fully disclosed at the time and has since been refinanced and partly paid off.

"The decision to buy Dumfries House and develop nearby land for housing involved, like any entrepreneurial activity, an element of risk, but the risks were manageable and fully covered."

Clarence House says Prince Charles has no intention of selling the land and it will still be developed in the future.




Send this article by email

More on this story

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Watch the Latest Channel 4 News

Watch Channel 4 News when you want

Latest Arts & Entertainment news

More News blogs

View RSS feed

Edinburgh Fringe

Courtesy of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Your guide to the biggest arts festival on earth.

A stage for war


An army training village becomes a theatre.

Cartoon coalition


How Channel 4 News viewers picture the coalition in cartoon form

Theatre of war


British soldiers are sent to the theatre to learn about Afghanistan.

Painting the town red


Architect Jean Nouvel unveils his red pavilion in central London.

Most watched


Find out which reports and videos are getting people clicking online.

Channel 4 © 2010. Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.