Charles to give up Home Farm ahead of future as king

The Prince of Wales will not renew his lease on his organic Home Farm, Clarence House has confirmed.

Heir to the throne Charles has farmed at the 1,000-acre plot near his country home Highgrove in Gloucestershire for 35 years.

It is understood the prince, 71, could not commit to a new 20-year-lease, due for renewal in the spring of 2021, as he is expected to become king at some stage.

The move is a practical one, with Charles unlikely to be able focus on the farm when devoted to his duties as a monarch.

Produce from the farm was used by the prince to start the Duchy Originals brand, now known as Waitrose Duchy Organic, with its wheat and oats used to make the first product, the now famous Duchy Originals oaten biscuit.

Home Farm
William with his father, the Prince of Wales during a visit to Duchy Home Farm in Gloucestershire (Chris Ison/PA)

A Clarence House spokesman said: "The Prince of Wales will not be renewing his lease on Home Farm but will continue to farm organically at Sandringham."

The prince will keep his beloved Highgrove as his country retreat, and will not have a new home at Sandringham in Norfolk.

Focusing his farming activities on Sandringham, the prince already manages the Sandringham estate on behalf of the Queen, taking over the role from the Duke of Edinburgh.

Queen's speech 2019
The Prince of Wales with the Queen (Matt Dunham/PA)

Sandringham's own Home Farm has been converted to organic farming.

The Sun newspaper reported that quitting Home Farm near Tetbury in Gloucestershire would be a "wrench" for the prince, who has devoted decades to its development.

A passionate advocate of the benefits of organic farming, Charles began converting the Duchy of Cornwall farm to a completely organic system in 1985.

The prince is the Duke of Cornwall and entitled to the annual surplus of £22 million generated by the Duchy of Cornwall's vast portfolio of land, buildings and financial investments.

Highgrove and Home Farm are owned by the Duchy and leased by the prince.

A new unnamed non-royal tenant has been found for the farm, which will remain organic, and they will continue the relationship with Waitrose Duchy Organic.

The Queen, now 94, is the longest reigning monarch in British history, with 68 years on the throne.

Charles is the nation's longest serving heir to the throne, a position he has held since he was three years old.

He has dedicated decades of his life to royal duty and charitable work as he carved out a role for himself as a king in waiting.

The past 10 years have seen a royal family in transition.

Trooping the Colour parade
The monarchy has been in transition over the last decade (Yui Mok/PA)

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh called time on their overseas travel, and then, at the age of 96, Philip retired from public duties.

In 2013, Charles opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka, representing his mother in the role for the first time.

Writer Catherine Mayer, who was given rare access to the prince, said the same year that he was "joylessly" increasing his royal workload and believed becoming king would be akin to "prison".

Clarence House denied this was the case, saying this was not the prince's view.

Mayer wrote that the prince was "impatient to get as much done as possible" ahead of succeeding his mother as monarch.

In 2017, the prince began the practice of laying a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday on behalf of the Queen as she watched from a nearby balcony instead.

Charles announced a major restructuring of his charities ahead of his 70th birthday in 2018, viewed as planning for the time when he will be king.

His role as future head of the Commonwealth was secured the same year when the Queen publicly lobbied in favour of her son at CHOGM in London, and world leaders backed the decision.