Almost 200 staff who work for Prince Charles are furloughed

Almost 200 staff who work for Prince Charles are furloughed including his ex-valet Michael Fawcett – but unlike Victoria Beckham, he is footing the bill

  • Staff working for the Prince of Wales have been furloughed due to coronavirus 
  • Nearly 200 staff members have been affected but taxpayers won’t pay a penny
  • Charles will use reserves at his charities to pay the salaries of his affected staff
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Almost 200 people who work for the Prince of Wales have been furloughed as a result of the coronavirus crisis – but it won’t cost the taxpayer a penny.

Instead of turning to the Government scheme, Prince Charles will use reserves at his charity to pay the salaries of his staff.

However, his former valet Michael Fawcett, who now runs The Prince’s Foundation, is understood to have taken a significant cut to his six-figure salary.

Prince Charles will use reserves at his charity to pay the salaries of his staff. However, his former valet Michael Fawcett, who now runs The Prince’s Foundation, is understood to have taken a significant cut to his six-figure salary. The pair are pictured together

A source at the charity, which has an annual wage bill of around £4.5 million, said that with all visitor attractions closed, 197 members of staff had been furloughed.

They include workers at its headquarters in Dumfries House in Ayrshire and at the Castle of Mey in Caithness, which was the late Queen Mother’s private residence. 

Employees at restaurants in Ballater on Deeside close to Balmoral are also affected.

It is understood that salaried staff will receive 100 per cent of their monthly wage and variable hours employees will get 80 per cent of their average monthly wage.

All members of the senior management team, including Mr Fawcett, volunteered to take a pay cut to ‘lead by example’.

All members of the senior management team, including Mr Fawcett, volunteered to take a pay cut to ‘lead by example’. He is pictured above

The foundation, which was created by the merging of The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in 2018, generates almost half of its income from visitors, events, fees, partnerships and other commercial activities.

According to its latest accounts, its income was £16.6 million in 2018-19.

Last night, a spokesman for the charity confirmed: ‘The Prince’s Foundation has put a number of staff on furlough. However, it is not accessing financial support from the Government’s job retention scheme.

‘Where possible, some staff are continuing to work from home. The Prince’s Foundation is paying the salaries of its staff.’

The appointment of Mr Fawcett, who spent five years as Chief Executive of Dumfries House Trust, the stately home rescued for the nation by Prince Charles, came as no surprise given the closeness of the two men. 

After starting as a Royal footman, Mr Fawcett rose quickly to become one of Charles’s most trusted aides. The Prince once reportedly said: ‘I can manage without just about anyone except for Michael.’

Known to be abrasive, Mr Fawcett resigned temporarily in 1998 after being accused of bullying and did so again in 2003 when he was given the nickname ‘Fawcett the Fence’ after a report by the Prince’s then principal private secretary Sir Michael Peat found he had accepted numerous gifts in the course of his Royal service. However, he cleared him of any financial impropriety.

Mr Fawcett returned to work for the Prince as a freelance events organiser before moving to his charitable ventures.

It is unclear whether more Royal staff will be furloughed. The Queen’s private Scottish retreat at Balmoral should have opened this month and relies heavily on visitor income to meet around half of its £3 million plus-a-year costs.

Employees at restaurants in Ballater on Deeside close to Balmoral are also affected. It is understood that salaried staff will receive 100 per cent of their monthly wage and variable hours employees will get 80 per cent of their average monthly wage. Balmoral Castle is pictured above

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace declined to comment on whether staff had been furloughed at any of the Queen’s private homes.

However, the Queen’s official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, has decided not to furlough staff.

A Royal Collection Trust spokesman said: ‘There are no plans to furlough Royal Household colleagues. Recruitment for summer staff is ongoing but, as it is uncertain when the residences might reopen to the public, this is being kept under review.’

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