Royal Heritage meets Environmental Sustainability

ITV Choice’s Prince Charles: Inside the Duchy of Cornwall, takes viewers into the inner sanctum of the Duchy, revealing the personal quest of a dedicated custodian. 

From mischievously bemoaning the irresistible lure of his beloved crocuses, to the local wildlife at Highgrove Estate, to graciously accepting rather large floral gifts from grateful shopkeepers and his picturesque concept-town of Poundbury. This endearing and insightful two-part documentary celebrates the life-work of a prince who has shaped the Duchy of Cornwall into a personal empire and created a successful business fit for the 21st century.

Ancient tradition

The Duchy of Cornwall is an ancient royal estate that has been managed by Dukes of Cornwall since the time of Edward III, aimed at providing a steady income stream for the firstborn sons of the ruling British monarch. Prince Charles has run it for 50 years since becoming its custodian at the age of 21 and has since turned it into a billion-pound business. The holding owns land and property covering over 130,000 acres across 23 counties. The Duchy will ultimately be managed by the prince’s older son William, and the series touches on the significance of this heritage for Prince Charles.

Half the battle is to ensure you maintain the things that are of timeless value – Prince Charles

Visionary landlord

At the heart of his caretaker philosophy is environmental stability and sustainability, but like any well-run business, lucrative property holdings are a source of income that is managed and administered by the 100-odd employees at Duchy HQ in London. Through shrewd investment property management, the estate earned 21 million pounds last year. The Prince charmingly referred to as “The Boss”, but it’s not just an empty title as viewers will learn.

Episode one offers a look at his town development project at Poundbury, the result of his battle with post-war town planners and 60s housing. Controversial Poundbury is his vision of Britain, favouring pedestrians over cars and classic architecture over modern housing. But approved front door colours and a ban on extensions, give the impression that this town is almost a model-town, a prince’s plaything. Despite this, the inhabitants are more than happy with their village, which is due for completion by 2025, an event the prince fervently hopes to witness.

Inside the Duchy airs Thursdays 14 and 21 November on ITV Choice (123) at 20:00

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