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Out with the old and in with the future: Prince William ditches his father’s architectural crusade as he directs the Duchy of Cornwall to ‘raise the bar’ by focusing on mental health and climate change

  • William and Kate made their first official visit to the county on Thursday
  • The Duchy will now focus on battling climate change and mental health

For decades, its fields, farms and towns were shaped by the ideals of King Charles – but now the Duchy of Cornwall is undergoing radical change as Prince William takes charge, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Its new priorities are mental health – particularly that of Duchy tenants and staff – and battling climate change

The Duchy will also no longer be driven by Charles’s architectural crusade, and its former opaque style will be replaced by greater transparency.

On Thursday, William and Kate made their first official visit to the county since becoming Duke and Duchess of Cornwall last year.

The new order for the Duchy links it to the environmental Earthshot Prize and Heads Together mental health charity, both championed by the couple.

Sources say William recognises his father’s passion for ‘forward-thinking, sustainable, innovative communities’. 

But he wants to focus on energy-efficient housing projects rather than traditionally-designed ones.

The first meeting of the ruling body of the Duchy, the Prince’s Council, since William became Duke of Cornwall took place at the end of last year, with the King also present.

There was also a reception at St James’s Palace, which a source described as a ‘handing over of the baton’, adding: ‘It was almost a celebration of everything the King has done for the Duchy. 

‘But William is looking at how we raise that bar – encourage tenants to think differently and raise their game on sustainability, drive improvement around the land that’s managed and use Earthshot ideas to achieve all this. The Prince wants to move the needle on climate change.’

The new order for the Duchy links it to the environmental Earthshot Prize and Heads Together mental health charity, both championed by the couple. Pictured: Sir David Attenborough speaks on stage, during the first Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London last year

The new order for the Duchy links it to the environmental Earthshot Prize and Heads Together mental health charity, both championed by the couple. Pictured: Sir David Attenborough speaks on stage, during the first Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London last year

The source said William wants officials to play a key role in mental health, adding: ‘How can they promote good mental health across the Duchy, for tenants, employees and the communities that are cared for.’

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Earthshot gives five £1 million annual prizes for ‘breakthrough solutions’ to protect nature, clean the air, revive oceans, fight climate change and ‘build a waste-free world’.

In 2021, the 130,000-acre estate made £23 million for Charles’s public, private and charitable work as Duke of Cornwall. 

It has 21 tenant farms across the country, with half its land on Dartmoor. One farmer said William’s plans would be ‘generally welcomed’.

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