A CLOSE friend of Prince Charles has been rescued after he went missing for 20 hours on remote moorland.

Millionaire landowner Hugh van Cutsem, 68, was found huddled against a stone wall on Garsdale Common, near Hawes, North Yorkshire, just before noon yesterday.

It is understood Mr van Cutsem suffers from a long-term illness and was in need of urgent medical help when found by a search and rescue dog.

He was taken to hospital in Lancaster after he was stretchered down the hillside to a waiting ambulance.

Volunteers from Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team were alerted after his family reported him missing to police at about 9pm on Monday.

Mr van Cutsem, whose son was a page boy at Prince Charles’ wedding to Diana, set out for a walk five hours earlier from his shooting lodge near the Moorcock Inn.

His Range Rover was found at a shooting hut on Mossdale Moor, the shooting estate he owns. He was found a mile from the car.

About 25 rescue team members searched through the night. Yesterday’s operation was led by Tom Redfern, from the Cave Rescue Organisation. He said Mr van Cutsem was wearing suitable clothing, but he was still lucky the weather was not as bad as originally forecast.

He said: “It is unfortunate that he got into difficulties, but it is always pleasing when the outcome is a successful one and when so many people work together.”

About 60 volunteers from teams that included the police, RAF Leeming Rescue Team, Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team and Kendal Mountain Rescue Team took part in yesterday’s search. Mr van Cutsem was found by a rescue dog and handler from Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team.

Attempts by the RAF to use a helicopter were hampered by fog and cloud.

Sergeant Stuart Grainger, from Leyburn police station, said Mr van Cutsem had been “determined to get through the night”.

He said: “The man was remarkably well when we located him, which is a testament to his strength of character and basic military training he had behind him.”

Mr van Cutsem’s friendship with Prince Charles dates from when they studied at Cambridge together.

A spokesman for the family declined to comment yesterday, other than to say “it is all sorted now”.