Prince Charles feels the pinch

Many people, suffering from the effects of the current global economic crisis, are probably wishing that they were so rich they could continue enjoying the lifestyles we all got used to during the years of plenty - which in some cases included luxuries such as being able to feed your children, having a house to live in and other similar decadence. But even the very rich feel the pinch and are forced to reduce their expenditure if they are to make ends meet - even the Royals.

Charles has proved that he is truly a man of the people by holidaying in this tiny Highlands cottage during the recession.

The Prince of Wales - as ever - wishes to be an example to us all, one suspects: he and Camilla slashed their personal spending last year. They spent just £6.2 million on staff, £527,000 on entertainment and a mere £65,000 on their gardens (possibly by asking the plants to stop eating so much).

Charles has an annual income of over £19.5 million of which £3 million comes the tax-payer and most of the rest from the Duchy of Cornwall. Yet despite these vast amounts, he managed to spend half a million pounds less last year (bringing the total to just £1.7 million) by introducing a range of cost-cutting measures such as holidaying at his tiny Scottish cottage Birkhall - just like normal people do - rather than flying off to Switzerland for skiing trips. Both he and Camilla have regularly been seen wearing outfits they have previously worn, and are believed to get them from Primark - both are regulars at the discount clothing chain's sales where Charles is often seen bulk-buying socks and Y-fronts.

To save money, the Prince has been wearing Primark Y-fronts rather than his usual custom-made pants which are embroidered with his crest.

Camilla even went as far as to sacrifice her annual sailing trip around the Greek islands, which as we are all no doubt aware would be an almost unthinkably hard thing to go without. The couple also reduced numbers of staff, many of whom may have found it difficult to find new jobs in the difficult employment market and as such will no doubt be taking the Prince's example to heart and reducing their own spending by similar amounts.

Sources at Clarence House claim that instead of the swan, caviar and truffles that many of us might imagine them to eat, the royal pair frequently nip down to Asda just before closing time to snap up bargains. "Charles came back pleased as Punch a few days ago," says one employee who wishes to remain anonymous so she won't have to join the laid-off staff in the dole queue, "he'd got a loaf of bread for 17p and six tins of Smart Price baked beans for just 10p each because they were dented. They had a lavish yet low-cost meal of baked beans on toast that night and even left a few slices which I took home to feed my little girl because the gas bill came in last week and I didn't have any spare cash left over."

A year ago, Charles converted his Aston Martin so that it would run on biofuel made from leftover wine - a handy tip for all the rest of us, who may often have wondered if we can do anything useful with those flat dregs of Krug after we've had some ambassadors round for dinner. His Jaguars, Audi and Range-Rover are also able to run on biofuel which he makes from waste aspic whenever he has had quails. However, even that was not enough for Charles who has since given up his beloved classic Aston and now drives a 9-year-old Skoda which has had its internal combustion engine replaced with an electric motor.

It has also been revealed that the Prince's agents sold all of the Duchy of Cornwall's shares just prior to the stock market crash, converting them into cash and Government Bonds. Now, we do not want to suggest in any way whatsoever that this implies anything a bit dodgy. But it makes you think, dunnit?

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