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Join the debate: Prince Charles Charity Commision probe


The Prince of Wales is the subject of an investigation by the Charity Commission, after a complaint that he is using Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment as a private lobbying firm

The heir to the throne is under the spotlight, according to the Daily Express after it was alleged that he has repeatedly used his foundation it to try to lobby Government ministers, developers and others to support his traditionalist views on designing major projects.

The Charity Commission, which regulates 190,000 organisations will look into a complaint made about Charles’s architecture body, the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment.

Republic, a group that campaigns for an elected head of state, is to lodge a formal complaint, arguing that the foundation is in breach of commission guidelines that stipulate campaigning should not damage the reputation or independence of a charity or become the main reason for its existence.

The complaint follows a series of controversies about the role of Charles and the foundation in lobbying to have modernist architects removed from key projects, including a £3 billion flats project at Chelsea Barracks and a £500 million shops and office complex next to St Paul’s Cathedral in London.


Readers' comments (20)

  • Excuse me? Many built environment charities campaign. It's what they exist for. However, I expect that nothing further will come of any investigation, as clearly it is only in the eyes of some mischief makers that his Foundation's reputation is in any way damaged, and campaigning is not the main reason for its existence.

    So the unpleasant, uninformed smear campiagn continues. Who is paying for it? Who is behind it? A slighted architect perhaps?

    Similar stature as a consultee? Utter irresponsible nonsense, peddled, of course, by a major developer. He is not a consultee, any interventions he cares to make (and every person in this country is free to do the same) hold no statutory weight, are not material planning considerations, and his views can be disregarded by developers. And they are. Which at times is a pity.

    Has no-one learned yet that this is not an argument about 'tradiotion' versus modern? It's about suitability.

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  • So Republic is to lodge a complaint. It has not already done so, it is simply making publicity seeking threats? It will have to have a strong case, and could well end up with egg on its face, but of course by the time the Charity Commission decides there is nothing to investigate, the mud will have stuck.

    Please can we have some investigation into who is carrying out this vendetta, who are the shadowy figures paying for all this?

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  • RIBA and RICS 'consultees?' Consulted on what? Certainly not planning. Can somone at the AJ ask Roger Madelin?

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  • Sorry, friend. It's not about suitability, it's about privilege.

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  • It's also about wild speculation and hyperbole on the part of the press. If Prince Charles had so much power, then developers would have to say yes. They don't. He doesn't.

    Architects so frequently have little idea about planning.

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  • Campaigning is not the main reason for the existence of this charity. Indeed, what it does can hardly be called campaigning.

    Is 'damage to its reputation' what this latest round of press clamour is designed to do? Is it a deliberate campaign of misinformation in order to attempt such damage?

    Republic would do well not to be used as a tool by those with a personal axe to grind.

    The charitable aims of the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment are clearly articulated on its website, and responses to recent allegations by its Chief Executive can also be read there.

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  • There is a broader constitutional context to consider. Republic's case is both meritorious and substantial: this individual has a pernicious lack of respect for democratic processes in this country, and persistently refuses to understand his family's role and unwritten obligations within it (including, potentially, the limits of his role as a future monarch).

    Aside from all this, there is an unseemly arrogance in one who, despite lacking any formal qualifications in architecture or indeed any discipline relating to the built environment, seeks to hold sway of those more knowledgable and informed than he.

    The real world is well attuned to this: it comes as some consolation that not one of his favoured architects has achived any genuine distinction either at home or internationally, despite his patronage and that of a few who share his lack of progressive ideals.

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  • Republic's case will be judged on the merits of whether or not the particular allegations stand re the Charity Commissionand the particular charity.

    The rest is no concern of the Charity Commission.

    As for 'democratic process', he has the same rights as anyone to 'interfere'. The arrogance belongs to those in the development and archictecture industry, who have no more, no fewer, rights than the rest of the population.

    This country is littered with so many appalling and unloved developments, designed by architects, funded by developers. The former may have been trained but such training does not a great artist always make, although it does seem to develop an unseemly arrogance in the belief that the 'untrained' cannot have a view about the environment in which they have to live. Developers are usually money men, and the bottom line is all they care about.

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  • Im delighted we have an active Royal Family who can cut through the 'bull' and actually engage in proper debate about the state of our urban landscape.

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  • It's pretty clear that Charles is doing more than 'expressing a view', but that debate has been well aired and probably doesn't require much more column space here

    It's interesting that the commentator should reer to "so many appalling and unloved developments".

    Much of the development undertaken in our towns and cities in the last couple of centuries has been undertaken by commercial developers. It would take a person of very limited insight to denounce all of it as 'appalling'.

    Is he/she of the opinion that the somewhat contrived (let's be magnanimous here) genre of architecture and urban development that Charles espouses will be any more 'loved' or highly regarded in years to come.

    Poundbury, ignoring its dubious sustainability credentials (highest car usage per capita in that part of rural Dorset, I gather), is a place that few people seem to be comfortable professing a liking for, even now. Like any other development, this one has been undertaken to make money, albeit with a somewhat lower break-even threshold (few have the luxury of owning large tracts of development land, free of debt, through birth right).

    Other developers, particularly the successful ones, are generally less prone to condemning other people's ideas until they have proven that their own ideas actually work (often with some pain along the way). Often, they will have learned from others' mistakes, and studied their successes. It's what differentiates them from what some might regard as the idiot toff, big-mouthed, interfering and making money from old rope.

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