As Prince of Wales, Charles has long since made great efforts to transform lives and build sustainable communities. He has been a patron to more than 400 charities and in the last 10 years has raised approximately £140 million. However, as he takes his place as King, his new duties will necessarily require him to take a step back. Though expected to continue most of Elizabeth II’s 600 patronage involvements, he may have to offload or even entirely reconsider some of these commitments. What is sure is that Charles deeply values charitable action, and intends to go to great lengths to continue championing its cause.
King Charles’ Charitable Efforts as Prince
Charles waited his turn to become King for more than 70 years, an extended period that galvanized him to make a difference while Prince. By principle, he advocated a streamlining of the Monarchy, reducing expenditure that could make room for charitable efforts such as improving living conditions in some of the world’s poorest regions.
He has founded charities such as the Prince’s Foundation, an educational organization that aims to create a sustainable future for people of all ages and backgrounds, as well as the Prince’s Trust, which works towards a similar goal but exclusively within the United Kingdom.
Foremost among King Charles’ charitable efforts is establishing the Turquoise Mountain foundation, an NGO that works to protect heritage and communities around the world, providing “jobs, education and a renewed sense of pride” in developing regions. Since 2006, it has treated more than 160,000 patients at its Kabul clinic, built more than 50 small businesses in Afghanistan, Myanmar and the Middle East, and helped preserve precious cultures while driving economic development.
Another prominent accomplishment is his founding of Duchy Originals in the early 1990s, with the goal of improving “soil fertility, biodiversity and human health.” His interest in the environment dates back to the 1960s, long before it was ubiquitously supported. The brand donates all its profits to charitable causes, and in the decade since partnering with Waitrose, a leading British supermarket, in 2009 turned over more than £30 million.
The Legacy of Elizabeth II
As impressive as Charles’ own track record is, he will be succeeding his mother Elizabeth II who has been hailed by some as the most charitable monarch in history, having raised more than £1.4 billion for charities in her lifetime.
This succession raises some doubt surrounding the future of fundraising. The first big question concerns what will become of Charles’ previous charitable duties. According to The Conversation, it is generally understood that William will take on the majority, though there are some who doubt if William will be quite as involved in the minutiae of advocacy as his father was, and whether this could affect performance.
Secondly, exactly what will become of Elizabeth II’s patronage is unknown. Though Charles could take on the majority, some commitments could be up for review in the near future.
Charles’ Pledges for the Future
What Charles has so far indicated for certain as King is that, according to his Christmas speech in 2022, charitable organizations “which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult of circumstances” will remain an integral part of his focus.
Though he has only been on the throne for a short period, among King Charles’ charitable efforts thus far has been a new £1.95 million pledge from the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund (PWCF) to seven personally important causes. One of these recipients will be Practical Action, which aims to support farmers in their transition to regenerative farming approaches in sub-Saharan Africa. This is not only beneficial to the environment; it secures the posterity of local farmers. Practical Action will receive £390,000.
Charles’ early actions as king and his impressive charitable efforts as Prince of Wales show that, despite questions over leadership roles in the wake of his succession, the fight against poverty will continue to receive a great deal of support and advocacy from the British Monarchy.