Take his views on farming, Prince Charles’ Duchy Home Farm went organic back in 1986, when most shoppers cared only about the low price tag on suspiciously blemish-free vegetables and unnaturally large chickens piled high in supermarkets. The Prince’s farm supplies barley, beets, carrots, milk, mustard, oats, parsnips and wheat to Duchy Originals, a firm he set up in 1992. In what he calls a “virtuous circle,” the company markets organic products such as cookies and soups made from the produce grown by his own farm and from ingredients sourced from other suppliers using farming methods that protect the countryside. The company’s profits go to charitable causes.
His warnings on climate change proved prescient, too. Charles began urging action on global warming in 1990 and says he’s been worried about the impact of man on the environment since he was a teenager. Although he has gradually gained international recognition as one of the world’s leading conservationists, many Brits still think of him as a crank who talks to plants. This year, as it happens, South Korean scientists proved that plants really do respond to sound. So Charles was ahead of the game there, too.
Prince Charles has also written numerous letters to government ministers, and even once suggested taking his seat in the House of Lords to speak on environmental issues. According to a new book by Catherine Mayer, he plans to continue as an activist when he becomes King. Senior courtiers are said to be extremely worried about his attitude, and the Duke of Edinburgh is described by The Times as his “harshest critics” accusing him of “selfish behaviour” in putting his “cerebral passions” before his royal duties.