Prince Charles says the difficulties faced by Duchy of Cornwall tenants amid the Covid-19 pandemic left him ‘demoralised’ – but was heartened by the ‘altruistic’ acts including a tenant who set up a mental health charity

  • Prince of Wales recorded a video message of support for tenants earlier this year
  • Praised community for coming together and said he’s ‘enormously proud’
  • Highlighted farmer who launched charity to help with mental health issues among farming community as well as lambing flock for friend stricken with virus
  • Joked he has a ‘ghastly feeling’ it shows he’s been involved for ‘over 50 years’ 

Prince Charles has admitted hearing about the difficulties faced by Duchy of Cornwall tenants during the pandemic left him feeling ‘demoralised’ – but he has been heartened by the community spirit.

The Prince of Wales, 71, highlighted examples of ‘altruistic behaviour and good will’ and said he is ‘enormously proud’ of his involvement in the estate in a video message released today. 

Speaking from his Birkhall home on the Balmoral estate in Scotland, Charles heaped praise on local businesses that have gone the extra mile to help others during the pandemic.

He also singled out Herefordshire farmer Sam Stables, who not only took on an entire flock of sheep from Yorkshire and lambed them for a friend stricken by the virus, but also started a charity to help with mental health issues amongst the farming community. 

‘As you can perhaps imagine I am extremely proud of him,’ Charles said in the video, posted on the Duchy of Cornwall website.

The prince also joked about his advancing years, quipping: ‘I must say I’m enormously proud to have been so closely involved with the Duchy of Cornwall for over 50 years now – and it probably shows, I have a ghastly feeling.’

Charles began the message by expressing his sorrow for how difficult the past few months have been for the tenants as they adapt to the range of measures introduced to combat the pandemic. 

‘I can only say how I feel for you all, particularly those impacted to the greatest extent who are reliant on tourism, hospitality and the associated food sectors, especially in the far south west,’ he said.


The Prince of Wales, 71, highlighted examples of ‘altruistic behaviour and good will’ and said he is ‘enormously proud’ of his involvement in the estate in a video message released today

‘This coronavirus has perhaps reminded us that society works because people do things together for the common good, whether that is key workers keeping us healthy, farmers producing our food or the supply chain meeting our needs. We all know that food isn’t made by supermarkets.’

He added: ‘Now whilst I confess to feeling rather demoralised after hearing about some of these difficulties within the Duchy of Cornwall family, I have been much heartened to be told some of the many tales of altruistic behaviour and good will around the Duchy estate.’

The prince commended the Brace of Butchers shop in Poundbury for providing hardship meals for struggling families, as well as the nearby Hall & Woodhouse from the Duchess of Cornwall pub for delivering hot meals to NHS workers in various Dorset hospitals over the Easter weekend.

Speaking from his Birkhall home on the Balmoral estate in Scotland, Charles heaped praise on local businesses that have gone the extra mile to help others during the pandemic – and also singled out Herefordshire farmer Sam Stables, pictured with his wife Emily

Charles told how Sam (pictured) not only took on an entire flock of sheep from Yorkshire and lambed them for a friend stricken by the virus, but also started a charity to help with mental health issues amongst the farming community

He also hailed the ‘worthy new tenants’ of the post office high up on Dartmoor in Postbridge, who were ‘not to be defeated’ by restrictions and managed to remain open for a few hours a day and offered a new doorstep delivery service.

‘For what it is worth, as I dare say many of you have heard me mention over all the years I’ve been lucky enough to know you all, I have long felt that collaboration between farmers is vital if they are to move forward and prosper, and I feel this more strongly now than ever,’ Charles stressed.

‘I know we have some of the very best communities, businesses and farmers who make it what it is and I truly hope that we can work together to keep ahead of the game and ensure a somewhat brighter future beyond the rather dark times we find ourselves in at the moment. 

The Duchy of Cornwall is a private landed estate established by Edward III in 1337 to provide a private income for his son and heir to the throne Edward, later known as the Black Prince – and all his subsequent heirs.

Charles took over management of the Duchy when he was 21, after the Queen’s accession to the throne.

Charles took over management of the Duchy when he was 21, after the Queen’s accession to the throne. Pictured during the ITV documentary Inside the Duchy of Cornwall

Today the estate is a private portfolio of land (extending across 23 counties in England and Wales), financial investments and property including the Oval cricket ground in Kennington, south London, and 67,000 acres of Dartmoor.

As heir to the throne, Charles is entitled to the surplus generated by the Duchy’s vast portfolio of land, buildings and financial investments. 

Charles uses his income from the Duchy to pay for his official duties, his London office and his charitable work. He also funds the public duties of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and some of William and Kate’s private costs. 

He will have done the same for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from his 2019-2020 income.

Harry and Meghan quit as senior royals in March at the end of the financial year. At the time, it was confirmed Charles would continue to make private financial contributions to the Sussexes as they began their new life in the US.

But it is not known whether this is coming from Charles’ Duchy money or his other private sources such as any inheritance or private investment.

In June it was reported that the Prince of Wales’s annual income from the Duchy of Cornwall has risen by nearly three per cent to £22.2 million, but is expected to fall ‘by a significant amount’ next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to accounts.

In 2019-20, the prince’s annual private income from the hereditary estate rose by £617,000 – 2.9 per cent – from £21,627,000 in 2018-19 to £22,244,000. 

Prince Charles’ video message to Duchy of Cornwall tenants in full

Ladies and gentlemen, we are now three months into a range of measures introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic. I am very much aware of the difficulties this has presented to everyone, and I can only say how I feel for you all, particularly those impacted to the greatest extent who are reliant on tourism, hospitality and the associated food sectors, especially in the far south west.

This coronavirus has perhaps reminded us that society works because people do things together for the common good, whether that is key workers keeping us healthy, farmers producing our food or the supply chain meeting our needs. We all know that food isn’t made by supermarkets.

Now whilst I confess to feeling rather demoralised after hearing about some of these difficulties within the Duchy of Cornwall family, I have been much heartened to be told some of the many tales of altruistic behaviour and good will around the Duchy estate.

For example the Brace of Butchers shop in Poundbury providing hardship meals for struggling families, and nearby Hall & Woodhouse from the Duchess of Cornwall pub delivering hot meals to NHS workers in various Dorset hospitals over the Easter weekend.

Then the worthy new tenants of the post office high up on Dartmoor in Postbridge, who were not to be defeated by restrictions and managed to remain open for a few hours a day and offered a new doorstep delivery service.

At a farming level, one of our energetic and selfless new entry farmer tenants in Herefordshire, Sam Stables, not only took on an entire flock of sheep from Yorkshire and lambed them for a friend stricken by the virus, but also started a charity to help with mental health issues amongst the farming community. As you can perhaps imagine I am extremely proud of him.

For what it is worth, as I dare say many of you have heard me mention over all the years I’ve been lucky enough to know you all, I have long felt that collaboration between farmers is vital if they are to move forward and prosper, and I feel this more strongly now than ever.

I must say I’m enormously proud to have been so closely involved with the Duchy of Cornwall for over 50 years now – and it probably shows, I have a ghastly feeling.

I know we have some of the very best communities, businesses and farmers who make it what it is and I truly hope that we can work together to keep ahead of the game and ensure a somewhat brighter future beyond the rather dark times we find ourselves in at the moment. My kindest wishes to you all, ladies and gentlemen.

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