Before ascending to the throne for many years, King Charles III had built a thriving organic foods empire that quickly became the UK’s biggest organic food brand. As he prepares for his role as Britain’s 61st monarch, many jokes that he’s stepping into his “first real job.”
However, that’s far from the truth. For many years, King Charles has passionately worked on behalf of promoting organic foods, and when he was Prince of Wales, he founded Duchy Originals in 1990 to sell produce from his farm. By March 2021, Duchy Originals earned almost £3.6 million ($4.1 million) before taxes.
The brand has seen its shares of victories and challenges, but it’s since thrived after entering into a lucrative partnership with Waitrose in 2009. The upmarket grocery chain today has exclusive rights to sell all Duchy Originals products, and shoppers are able to purchase milk, sausages, salmon, blueberries, carrots, and other foods under the “Waitrose Duchy Organic” name exclusively at Waitrose stores.
“It’s turned into a very successful business,” said Andrew Bloch, a London-based public relations expert. “You can sense with this brand, it has heart and soul behind it.”
As for the future of the food brand, that remains unclear as King Charles prepares to move into his new role as he and the nation continue a period of mourning culminating in the Queen’s state funeral on Monday, September 19.
Ownership of the Duchy Originals brand will most likely pass down to King Charles’ son Prince William, who will also inherit the separate Duchy of Cornwall estate, which is valued at about £1 billion ($1.2 billion). And while as he’s studied organic farming, Prince William is less likely to be as involved in the business as his father.
“He’ll be interested, but he’ll entrust others to run it,” said Sally Bedell Smith, a biographer and author of the book “Charles: The Misunderstood Prince.”
The video below describes King Charles’ company and his passion for organic farming.
Also, here’s a video announcing the partnership between Waitrose and Duchy Organics.
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- “Charles the Entrepreneur? How the new king built a top organic food brand” CNN Business.