A series of charities founded by the King when he was the Prince of Wales, including his flagship Prince’s Trust, have been renamed to reflect his accession.
The Prince’s Trust will become the King’s Trust, the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund will become King Charles III Charitable Fund and the Prince’s Foundation will be renamed the King’s Foundation.
The rebranding was done in part to draw a distinction between the King and his son, the new Prince of Wales.
“There is sometimes confusion about whose organisations they are,” admitted a palace source.
“Prince William has his own foundation and so the name change makes it clear that these are organisations affiliated with the King.”
The announcement came as the King prepares to mark his 75th birthday next Tuesday.
The celebrations will begin in earnest on Monday, when he will join a host of fellow 75-year-olds for a tea dance at Highgrove.
The party will be followed on Tuesday with the official launch of the King’s Coronation Food Project, before His Majesty enjoys a private birthday dinner with friends at Clarence House.
The renaming comes despite the charities insisting last September that they would retain their original names.
John Booth, chairman of the Prince’s Trust, said at the time that there were “no plans” for a rebrand, noting that the organisation had “built a reputation” under that name and had developed a strong record over 46 years.
“It is our full intention to continue this vital work under the name of the Prince’s Trust,” he said.
As recently as July, the charity insisted there were no plans to change its name.
Sources said the decision had not been taken lightly but was the result of several months of discreet consultation.
Although the King was consulted, it was ultimately a decision made by the directors and trustees of the various organisations.
“This has been under consideration for some time,” one said.
“There have been months of polling and consultation as well as due diligence around risk and opportunity.
“Ultimately, everyone is very happy. The changes mark a new chapter which happens to coincide with the King’s birthday.”
Charities stay under King’s wing
The new names reflect the promise the King made in his accession speech last September that the “important work” carried out by the charities he had long championed “will go on in the trusted hands of others”.
It comes five years after a review of his charities prompted a major restructuring that was announced to coincide with his 70th birthday.
In 2018, several organisations focusing on causes such as British Asians, Scottish youths and traditional arts were consolidated, with a number coming under the umbrella of the new Prince’s Foundation. His flagship Prince’s Trust Group expanded to incorporate its work overseas.
The exercise was widely considered to be related to his preparations to become monarch, although at the time palace sources insisted it was simply to make the running of the organisations more efficient and maximise their impact.
The King once spoke of his hope his two sons would take over the Prince’s Trust, which he set up with his £7,400 Navy severance pay in 1976.
But both have since gone their own ways and the switch in name means that he will be keeping this charity, as well as the two other organisations, firmly under his wing, despite the demands of his role as King.
By September 2020, a million young people had been supported by the trust, including the actor Idris Elba, who was given a £1,500 grant to help him to train at the National Youth Music Theatre when he was 18.
The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund was founded in 1979 and awards grants to help people and communities to change the world around them, and the Prince’s Foundation began life in 1986 and is based at Dumfries House, Ayrshire.
The rebrand will offer something of a fresh start for these two charities, which has each found itself mired in controversy in recent years.
The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund came under scrutiny after accepting a £1 million donation by the family of Osama bin Laden following a private meeting between the King and the terrorist’s half-brother Bakr, who has publicly denounced Osama.
Clarence House said the decision to accept the donation was made by trustees and that the King was not involved.
It was also claimed that Charles was handed £2.6 million in cash in Fortnum and Mason carrier bags by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former Qatari prime minister.
The Charity Commission cleared the fund of wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the Prince’s Foundation was at the centre of a cash for honours scandal after it was claimed that Michael Fawcett, the King’s former right-hand man and its then chief executive, had promised to help a Saudi billionaire donor achieve British citizenship and a knighthood in return for his generosity.
The Metropolitan Police announced in August that it would be taking no further action following an 18-month investigation.
The Prince’s Countryside Fund, a charity set up by the King in 2010 to support family farms and rural communities, was first of his organisations to be renamed, when it became the Royal Countryside Fund in July.