Prince Charles denies wrongdoing in reportedly accepting over $3 million in bags of cash for his charity. The fallout exposes a gray area in royal rules.

·4 min read
Prince Charles.
Prince Charles.Tim P. Whitby - WPA Pool/Getty Images
  • Prince Charles reportedly accepted over $3 million in cash from the former prime minister of Qatar.

  • While he denies wrongdoing, an inquiry led by a UK charity regulator is reviewing the exchange.

  • Charles' latest donor controversy exposes a gray area in royal rules about accepting cash gifts.

Prince Charles denies he did anything wrong by reportedly accepting over $3 million in cash from a Qatari politician for charity, but the fallout exposes a gray area in rules about royals accepting gifts of money.

On Sunday, the Times of London reported that between 2011 and 2015, the Prince of Wales personally accepted three bundles of cash, one of which amounted to just over $1 million, that was stuffed into a suitcase. The donation was reportedly deposited into accounts of the Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund (PWCF), which awards annual grants to a range of charities.

According to The Times of London, the entire donation of €3 million, or around $3.1 million, was given in €500 notes by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. Al Thani is a controversial former prime minister of Qatar who has had involvement with several offshore companies, according to The Guardian.

The Times of London added in its report that on one occasion, Al Thani gave Charles what amounted to around $1.05 million, "which was reportedly stuffed into carrier bags from Fortnum & Mason, the luxury department store that has a royal charter to provide the prince's groceries and tea."

In a statement to Insider on Monday, Clarence House denied any wrongdoing. "Charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were passed immediately to one of the Prince's charities who carried out the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed," the statement read.

When it comes to cash donations, royal rules are vague

Per the gift guidelines and procedures outlined on the official royal website, members of the royal family "are allowed to accept a cheque as a patron of, or on behalf of a charity with which they are associated with (often for publicity purposes)."

It makes no mention of cash donations, including large sums like those reportedly given to Charles by Al Thani.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, arrives for the National Service of Thanksgiving to Celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen at St Paul's Cathedral.
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, arrives for the National Service of Thanksgiving to Celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen at St Paul's Cathedral.Henry Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The website adds that members of the royal family "should never accept gifts of money, or money equivalent, in connection with an official engagement or duty. If not capable of being returned, money should be donated directly to a charity nominated by the Member of The Royal Family."

A possible new inquiry into donations to Charles' charitable foundation

A spokesperson for the Charity Commission, a UK government regulator, told Insider via email that it is "aware of reports about donations received by The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation."

They also said: "We will review the information to determine whether there is any role for the Commission in this matter."

The Charity Commission provides guidance for trustees to consider when accepting donations, to determine "whether it appears to have any suspicious characteristics." It encourages trustees to question the form in which the donation is received, whether there is any public concern about the donor or their activities, and whether the donations come with any conditions attached.

If the commission finds it has a further role in the matter, it will be the second time the Prince of Wales has found himself and his charitable endeavors facing questions — and a possible inquiry — about charitable donations.

prince charles, michael fawcett
Prince Charles and his former aide, Michael Fawcett.Chris Jackson/Getty Images, Max Mumby/Getty Images

British police announced in February it'd launched an investigation into Charles' charity, The Prince's Foundation, over accusations a close aide offered a Saudi tycoon knighthood in exchange for $2 million in donations.

The Sunday Times' Gabriel Pogrund and Valentine Low reported in September that one of Prince Charles' closest aides and former valet, Michael Fawcett, had stepped down from his role as the chief executive of The Prince's Foundation after it published a report accusing him of misconduct.

The publication reported that Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz paid tens of thousands of dollars "to fixers with links to the prince" who told him they could award him an honorary CBE, the highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award for those who are not British citizens.

A spokesperson for Prince Charles told The Mirror last year: "The Prince of Wales had no knowledge of the alleged offer of honors or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities."

Read the original article on Insider