The centre will be privately funded — although the Government will pick up the running costs. Being the Duke of Westminster — Britain’s 10th richest person with a fortune of £8.5 billion — his methods of fund-raising are not quite rattling a tin outside Boot’s on a Saturday morning. He has only accepted donations of between £5 million and £10 million from companies, private trusts and individuals.
“I have the ability to be able to do it, in that it is easier for me to kick the door down of a bank chairman and say to another firm ‘thank you for considering us but your gift is actually not big enough’,” he says.
So far £192million of the £300 million has been raised for the capital cost of the scheme; the Duke has personally pitched in £50million. Next year, the five-strong project team will ask members of the public to donate. The Duke of Cambridge is the project’s patron.
I have made a little bit of fun of the man before now, for in his list of titles and medals and awards there’s some prominence given to a Canadian TA medal (I think that’s right). But to be fair about it that’s one that is absolutely and unambiguously one that’s he’s earned purely and solely though his actions and efforts, not any accidents of birth or social position.