Prince William denies breaching charity law with grants to Prince Harry

·Royal Correspondent
William has been accused of losing money to Harry's projects. (Getty Images)
William has been accused of losing money to Harry's projects. (Getty Images)

Prince William has been accused of “losing” £300,000 by making donations to his brother Harry’s “pet projects” according to campaigners.

William and Kate’s Royal Foundation awarded grants to Prince Harry so that he and his wife Meghan Markle could set up Sussex Royal, their royal arm before they stepped back from their senior royal roles.

The foundation also gave a grant to Harry for Travalyst, his sustainable travel project, which is now a UK-based non-profit.

The campaign group Republic, which wants to see an end to the monarchy, has reported the charities to the Charity Commission for investigation, claiming they have breached charity law.

In a letter to the Commission, Graham Smith wrote: “The Royal Foundation gave a grant of £145,000 to Sussex Royal and £144,901 to a non-charitable organisation (Travalyst).

“In both instances it appears the only rationale for the decision was the personal relationship between two patrons, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge.”

But the foundation has denied any wrongdoing and said the grants were awarded by the charity’s board of trustees.

A spokesman for the Royal Foundation said: “The grants made to Sussex Royal were to support the charitable work of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. They were fully in line with governance requirements and were reported transparently.”

Travalyst is a project Harry has set up to promote sustainable tourism. (Getty Images)
Travalyst is a project Harry has set up to promote sustainable tourism. (Getty Images)

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A spokesperson who worked with Sussex Royal said: “Grants made to the non-profit organisation Travalyst are for the ongoing development of projects that will support communities, wildlife, and the environment through sustainable travel and tourism.

“All grants have been made impartially and objectively, fully in line with governance requirements, and have been reported transparently in full accordance with regulations.”

Smith added: “I find it difficult to believe that a charity making an independent and impartial decision would decide to make these payments.

“The Royal Foundation has lost almost £300,000 to Prince Harry's pet projects. Harry's own charity is now closing and he appears to be taking the charity's money with him. I can't see how that isn't a breach of charity law.”

The group has said the charities should be investigated for “conflicts of interest, inappropriate use of funds and a lack of independence”.

A Charity Commission spokesman said: “We have received a complaint on this issue. As with all concerns raised with us we will assess the information provided to determine whether or not there is a role for the Commission. We have not made any determination of wrongdoing.”

The donations came to light when the Royal Foundation filed financial documents, which also showed how the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex had decided to split the ongoing income from the memorial fund set up for their mother.

Harry and Meghan, who are currently living in Los Angeles, have dissolved Sussex Royal ahead of the planned launch of their new non-profit, Archewell.

The Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Sussex with the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge during the first Royal Foundation Forum. (PA Images)
The Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Sussex with the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge during the first Royal Foundation Forum. (PA Images)

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The royals were hoping to use ‘Sussex Royal’ after stepping back from their role as senior members of the Royal Family, having built up a large following on their Instagram account.

But as part of the agreement with the Queen, they agreed not to use the word royal in any future branding.

The Royal Foundation was the charitable arm first for Princes William and Harry, then for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Harry, up until he and Meghan decided to split from them to set up their own foundation.

William and Harry’s uncle, Prince Andrew, had to repay £355,000 after his trust was found in breach of rules by paying one of its former trustees.

Andrew’s charitable body allowed the former trustee to work as a director for a fee for three of its subsidiary companies – in breach of rules.

The Duke of York’s household has paid back the money, and the trust was wound up with remaining funds being distributed among charities with similar aims.