Prince Charles accepted bags of cash containing millions of pounds from a controversial Qatari philanthropist and politician and funnelled the cash into the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation (PWCF) according to an investigation by the Sunday Times published on 25 June.
The Sunday Times reports that the Prince of Wales took a suitcase with a total of €1 million in €500 banknotes from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, a former prime minister of Qatar during a private meeting at Clarence House in 2015. And this was not an isolated incident – the investigation found that Prince Charles accepted cash gifts, worth approximately €1 million each, from Al Thani two other times.
The funds were then passed to officials in the royal household to count, and then to Coutts, the private bank that has served the British royal family for centuries. Prince Charles asked for each gift to be deposited into the Coutts account of PWCF, a grant making foundation which aims to transform lives and build sustainable communities.
There is no suggestion the payments were illegal. While declining to comment on specific cases, Coutts told the Sunday Times that it has ‘longstanding and robust policies and controls to assess the source, nature and purpose of large and unusual transactions’ adding that ‘receipt of cash payments by the bank receive thorough review and oversight.’
The royal gift policy states that members of the royal family are allowed to accept a ‘cheque’ as a patron of, or on behalf of, a charity. It is silent on cash.
Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of PWCF, told the Sunday Times ‘there was no failure of governance’.
The latest allegations come only months after another scandal inside Prince Charles’ philanthropic empire. In September 2021, the Scottish charity regulator announced a statutory investigation into the Prince’s Foundation following allegations of ‘donations for honours’ involving Saudi Arabian philanthropist, Mahfouz bin Mahfouz.
This is a developing story, and Alliance magazine will continue to report.
For more on this topic, see our special feature on royal philanthropy