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Prince of Wales’ ‘lack of judgement’ over cash in suitcase threatens ‘durability of the UK’

26 Jun 2022 4 minute read
Prince Charles. Picture by Arnaud Bouissou (CC0 1.0).

The Prince of Wales’ lack of judgement is a threat to the “durability of the UK”, the Sunday Times newspaper has said after it was reported that the he accepted €1m cash in a suitcase from a sheikh.

The Sunday Times reported that the Prince of Wales accepted bags containing millions of euros in cash during meetings with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar.

There is no suggestion the payments were illegal, the Sunday Times reported today, or that the sheikh did not intend the monies to go to the charity.

But the manner in which the money was transferred called into question the judgement of the Prince of Wales, the newspaper said, at a time when Scotland and Wales had independence movements and a united Ireland was also a possibility.

“We face serious challenges in the coming years, including a debate about the durability of the United Kingdom,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“A king perceived to lack good judgment will be less effective in helping the nation confront these issues, and forays into politics could cause constitutional problems.”

As well as the United Kingdom, the newspaper said that Charles’ alleged behaviour could endanger the monarchy itself.

“The outpouring of love for the Queen that characterised the jubilee celebrations should not be misconstrued as unconditional support for the monarchy,” it said.

“If one family is to reign by birthright in the 21st century, it must recognise that it does so under licence from the public.”

‘Due process’

The Sunday Times claimed the prince personally accepted the cash donations for his charity the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF) between 2011 and 2015 from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim who was prime minister of Qatar between 2007 and 2013.

Clarence House said the donations were “passed immediately” to one of the prince’s charities and that “appropriate governance” was carried out.

“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,” a statement said.

According to the Sunday Times, a donation of one million euros was handed over during a meeting at the prince’s residence, Clarence House.

PWCF’s chairman Sir Ian Cheshire told the newspaper “there was no failure of governance”.

The charity, which was founded in 1979 with a mission to transform lives and build sustainable communities, awards grants to UK registered non-profit organisations to deliver projects in the UK, Commonwealth and overseas.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he was confident the donations would have gone through “proper due process”.

Asked about the report on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, Mr Lewis said: “This isn’t a Government issue, but what I have seen is the palace have been very clear, that all monies go through proper due process, the charities obviously go through proper due process.

“I’m confident having had some dealings with charities, The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Foundation, around the palace in the past myself, that these will have gone through proper due process.”

‘No knowledge’

It comes as another of Charles’s charities, the Prince’s Foundation, is currently under investigation by the Metropolitan Police over an alleged cash-for-honours scandal.

The prince, and his close friend Michael Fawcett, were formally reported to the Met Police last September when allegations of cash-for-honours first surfaced in newspaper reports.

Mr Fawcett, who has since resigned as chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation, has been accused of promising to help a Saudi billionaire donor receive British citizenship and a knighthood.

Clarence House has previously said that the prince had “no knowledge” of the alleged cash-for-honours.

The Prince’s Foundation was created through the merger, in 2018, of The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts.

It champions sustainability and runs education and training programmes.

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