By Stephen M. Silverman
July 01, 2003 03:59 PM

Prince Charles wants the world to know that even a royal can work for a living.

For the first time, the prince, 54, released details about his income and how much he spends, in an effort to prove he is not simply an aristocrat following a rash of scandals surrounding him, the New York Times reports.

The financial report revealed that the prince made $17 million last year, a 27 percent leap over his 2001 earnings. Most of the money comes from the Duchy of Cornwall, a company with a variety of holdings and interests that has been in place since 1337 for the benefit of the heir to the British throne. Among the Duchy’s interests is an organic food business that specializes in upscale cookies and chocolates, according to the Times.

Taxpayers also toss $5 million a year to Charles, while his mother, Queen Elizabeth II of England, 76, kicks another $3 mil his way. That goes to keep him traveling and his various residences up and running.

Running his life is no cheap proposition, after all, notes The Times. Charles maintains 91 official employees and 17 private staff members (including secretaries, valets, drivers and the like).

Last year, Charles reportedly spent $9 million on official duties and charity activities, and another $1.5 million on entertainment. Answering the 50,000 letters he received last year cost him $800,000. (That’s a lot of stamps.)

The financial disclosures were made, says The Times, because of recent revelations that the Prince’s house was not in order – specifically the embarrassment around the alleged rape of one of his male servants by another. Then there were reports that some trusted staff members regularly sold off royal knickknacks and gifts to the Windsors – and then pocketed some of the money themselves.

Though the report was designed to restore confidence in Prince Charles, Ian Davidson, a member of Parliament, told Reuters that it created more questions about state subsidies to the royal family.

“We do need to examine the whole question of royal funding and whether taxpayers should still be footing the bill, especially with these numbers showing such a large rise in Charles’s income,” Davidson told the wire service.