Architecture charity 'is not Charles's mouthpiece'

Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment defends itself against claims of bias

The Prince of Wales' architecture charity has said complaints that it acted as a mouthpiece for the prince's personal opinions by intervening in planning disputes are "unfounded and baseless".

Third Sector reported yesterday that the Charity Commission was questioning the organisation over claims it had acted in line with the prince's wishes by intervening in planning disputes.

But Hank Dittmar, chief executive of the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, told Third Sector the organisation was "an independent charity governed by a capable and active board of trustees".

"The complaint to the Charity Commission is unfounded and baseless," he said. "We value the Prince of Wales's presidency of the organisation and his vision, but we take our own decisions. We look forward to confirmation of this fact by the Charity Commission in due course."

The investigation follows a complaint to the regulator by anti-monarchy campaign group Republic. It asked the commission to look into the charity's activities following a report in The Guardian that claimed the prince had tried to persuade the developer responsible for a £500m office and shopping complex near St Paul's Cathedral to employ one of his preferred architects.

A letter to Republic from the commission said it was talking to the charity about its "management and administration including trustee decision making, the activities it undertakes to further its charitable purposes for the public benefit and the charity's relationship with Prince Charles".


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