Charles tells National Trust supporters coronavirus is ‘challenging’ for society

The Prince of Wales has said coronavirus is “challenging” society in a way people have not experienced for generations.

Charles’s comments were made in the foreword to a special edition of the National Trust’s magazine, marking the organisation’s 125th anniversary and his 25 years as its president.

The trust has said it is set to lose up to £200 million this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The conservation organisation has appealed to the Government for “urgent, practical” support after it had to halt a number of projects due to the pandemic.

The heir to the throne says in the publication, which will be delivered to trust members on Tuesday: “I believe passionately that today’s challenges make the National Trust more important than ever. And, as I write this now, events are progressing at the most extraordinary pace and are touching all our lives.

Volunteers taking part in the ‘Great Yew’ during the annual prune of the 400-year-old yew at the National Trust’s Shugborough Estate in Staffordshire. Jacob King/PA Wire
Volunteers taking part in the ‘Great Yew’ during the annual prune of the 400-year-old yew at the National Trust’s Shugborough Estate in Staffordshire. Jacob King/PA Wire

“The global spread of coronavirus is challenging society in a way that we have not experienced for generations and as a direct impact it has, of course, necessitated the temporary closure of the National Trust’s properties, parks and gardens too.

“Sadly, the situation has also forced the cancellation of the 125th Anniversary Garden Party that was due to take place at Buckingham Palace on Thursday 14 May, when I had much been looking forward to meeting many of you.

“While this is undoubtedly a great shame, I know the anniversary will not be overlooked and I shall do whatever I can to play my part in celebrating this important milestone – however remotely.”

The trust’s director general Hilary McGrady has said “a sharp drop in income” is threatening the country’s environmental sector.

Speaking at the weekend on BBC Breakfast, the charity boss estimated the trust “lost about 50% of our annual income literally overnight” when sites closed earlier this year.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Ms McGrady urged ministers to step in and “address nature, wildlife and environmental organisations with an immediate offer of support”.

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