Prince Charles was very passionate about the historical house, so decided to borrow £20million from the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation, an organisation that normally helps charities, to help buy it, Prince Charles found himself waking up in the middle of the night in a panic after borrowing £20million for a risky investment which very quickly went badly.
In a desperate bid to save old furniture in Dumfries House in Ayrshire, Scotland, the heir to the throne took cash from his charitable foundation to buy the property back in 2007. His plan was to building houses at the edge of the estate and use the money to pay the loan back within five years. He hoped his idea would help regenerate the local area.
But just a year after he bought the house the 2008 banking crisis hit, throwing the UK into a recession. The estate had a price tag of £45million, but charities and agencies in the surrounding areas had only managed to come up with £25million so Charles paid the rest. He took the cash from the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation, an organisation that normally helps charities.
The recession meant the markets all changed, and Charles had to quickly rethink his plans and renegotiate the conditions on his loan. During an interview with Alan Titchmarsh, he admitted it was an extremely stressful time and he lost sleep over it.Speaking on the ITV documentary The Royal Restoration, Alan asked: “You borrowed £20million. How big of a worry was it?”
Charles replied: “Oh, a huge worry. You know, you wake up in the middle of the night thinking ‘help!’. “Because the difficulty was, having done the deal, then a year later the bottom fell out of the whole market didn’t it? “So that made it very interesting because of course overnight the value of everything went right down.”
However it wasn’t all negative, and looking back on it Charles says it was an “exciting” part of the project.But critics at the time time weren’t as positive, with some describing his spending as “reckless”. He then had a battle against the clock to find the cash, and when asked if he entertained the possibility of failing and seeing the foundation collapse he said “absolutely”, reports the Express .
He told Alan: He added: “If it doesn’t work – and there are plenty of people out there hoping it isn’t going to work…“Well, maybe I would have done better to do nothing, then nobody would have criticised would they? “But you’ve got to get stuck in and try and make a difference.
“And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but it can be slightly more exposed in my position.” Thankfully everything went to plan, and he managed to make the cash through a number of fundraising events and private donations.
He managed to raise £31million in total, paying off the original loan with lots left over to do all the renovations and continue with his project as planned. It has seen been looked at as one of Charles’s most successful projects.