Prince Charles is offering some of his tenants reduced rates of rent as they recover from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.
Yahoo UK has learned that the Duchy of Cornwall will take applications from tenants with commercial premises for rent abatement, meaning they could get reduced rents or even rent-free periods.
The duchy previously offered tenants a rent holiday from the period of 22 March to 24 June, as they braced for a quiet Spring.
Under that deferral scheme, the tenants would have had to pay the rent eventually, but would have two years interest free to do so.
The Duchy of Cornwall includes land in 21 counties mostly in the South West of England and provides an income for the heir to the throne. Last year Charles made £22.2m from it.
The abatement news comes as Charles, who is the Duke of Cornwall, sent a message to duchy tenants, to offer his support and to praise the work of the communities during the pandemic.
He said: “Now, whilst, I must confess, feeling rather demoralised after hearing about of some of these difficulties within the Duchy of Cornwall family, I have been much heartened to be told some of the many tales of altruistic behaviour and goodwill around the Duchy estate.
“For example, The Brace of Butchers shop in Poundbury providing hardship meals for struggling families and, nearby, Hall and Woodhouse from the Duchess of Cornwall pub delivering hot meals to NHS workers in various Dorset hospitals over the Easter weekend.
“Then there were the new tenants of the Post Office, high up on Dartmoor at Postbridge, who were not to be defeated by restrictions and managed to remain open for a few hours a day and offered a new doorstep delivery service.
“At a farming level, one of our energetic and selfless new entrant farm tenants in Herefordshire, Sam Stables, not only took on an entire flock of sheep from Yorkshire and lambed them for a friend stricken by the virus, but also started a charity to help with mental health issues amongst the farming community.
“As you can perhaps imagine, I am extremely proud of him.”
The Duchy of Cornwall estate has a net value of £909m. Charles is the longest serving Duke of Cornwall, marking 50 years last year.
The surplus is how Charles makes money, and much of it goes to funding the work of other royals. For example, 95% of the funding Prince Harry and Meghan had was from Charles via the duchy, and it’s thought he may still be helping them to some extent as they start life in Los Angeles.
Last year his income rose by 3% to £22.2million, but there was a stark warning that it may not last.
Alastair Martin, the Duchy’s Secretary and Keeper of the Records, said: “The lockdown resulting from COVID-19 was only in place for one week of the financial year that this report covers.
“There is therefore very limited financial impact on these results.”