Charity Commission clears prince's architecture charity

Regulator concludes complaints against Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment are unfounded, but says public perception problems remain

The Charity Commission has rejected a complaint from anti-monarchy campaign group Republic that Prince Charles exerted too much influence over the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment and it was not independent.

A report in The Guardian last month 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.

But after contacting the charity, the commission concluded that it did not intervene improperly in planning processes and that the prince did not exert an "inappropriate" influence on it.

"We are satisfied that the complaints alleging that the charity is undertaking activities that fall outside of its charitable objects are not founded," a commission statement said.

However, it said the commission would be talking to the foundation about how it managed the public perception of its operation and vision.

Graham Smith, campaign manager at Republic, said the group was pleased the commission confirmed the foundation was operating within the rules.

"However, the commission clearly has serious concerns about the effect Charles is having on the charity's reputation," he said.

Republic, he added, continued to have concerns about the relationship between Charles and all his charities.

Hank Dittmar, chief executive of the Prince's Foundation, said he was pleased that the commission found no evidence that it was working outside its charitable objects.

"The Prince's Foundation is an independent education charity whose mission is to improve the quality of people's lives," he said.

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