The Prince of Wales visited “jail cells” in the wake of the 2011 London riots in an effort to learn what had caused the unrest.
This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield, who is an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust charity, said Charles took part in covert trips to discover how his charity might help.
Schofield was speaking at the trust’s Invest In Futures event in London on Thursday.
He said: “The London riots that we had, the awful time we went through, the Prince’s Trust was on the ground.
“He was in jail cells, quietly, secretly, saying: ‘What’s happened here? What’s happened in your community?’ and someone said to him: ‘What community?’”
Schofield continued: “He came away thinking, ‘I’ll learn from now, I will learn from now’, and new schemes have been born out of that.
“He writes a lot, he thinks a lot. It’s a constant process. I think that itself is testament to a guy that few people see – the real guy outside of the trust that we do. He is utterly and completely active.”
The event at the Savoy hotel was hosted by actor Simon Callow and themed around West Side Story, with actors playing out scenes from the musical among the crowd.
Callow introduced Charles as “someone who has changed the lives of thousands of young people”.
Charles founded the trust in 1976 to help vulnerable young people get their lives back on track, and it has recently shifted its focus towards preventing knife crime.
In his after-dinner speech, Charles lamented the number of young lives lost to youth violence and said he had heard first-hand how families had been affected.
He said: “Before Christmas I hosted a discussion on the issue of youth violent crime and the horrors of knife crime in particular, at Clarence House with my youngest son Harry.
“I heard first-hand from young people and families whose lives have been dreadfully affected.
“There are, of course, far too many young lives lost, and it is clear that by working together we can prevent young lives from being wasted and protect families and communities from the terrible consequences a culture of violence can bring.”
The event was attended by youth and celebrity ambassadors for the trust, including Spice Girls Geri Horner and Emma Bunton, as well as radio host Fearne Cotton and actress Felicity Kendal.