Prince Charles has been commended as the best individual guardian of rural areas in a magazine poll.

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The Prince of Wales was voted into the top spot by readers of Country Life magazine who praised his support of farmers.

Rupert Uloth, deputy editor of Country Life, said: “The prince’s favourite issues are countryside-related and he’s prepared to stand up for what he thinks.

“I think we’re well beyond the time when he was castigated for talking to his plants. He genuinely feels very passionately and strongly, he’s a real countryman, and it’s great that the populace realises that. The countryside hasn’t had many champions.”

Rupert also said the survey shows the public appreciates the way the prince tries to safeguard the country’s rural heritage by supporting farmers through the foot and mouth crisis and via his organic food range.

More than 1,000 people took part in the survey, 80 per cent of whom said they would rather live in rural areas or by the coast.

Eight per cent named Charles the individual saviour of Britain’s natural landscapes, with chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver also featuring.

Queen Elizabeth was named best guardian of the countryside by two per cent of voters. One in three respondents said farmers were the best guardians of the countryside.