Prince Charles could face an investigation by the UK’s Charity Commission regarding multi-million-pound donations made by the Qatari royal family to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF), his grant-making entity, following a series of UK media revelations on Sunday.
The prince is believed to have received three separate payments of cash totaling over £2.5 million ($3.07 million) between the years 2011 and 2015, personally accepting the donations in cash from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani, who served as PM of Qatar from 2007 to 2013.
Neither party has been accused of wrongdoing, but the air of impropriety lingers in the British media around the situation, in which large sums of cash stashed in suitcases and Fortnum and Mason shopping bags changed hands during quasi-secret meetings. Because the appointments with the Qatari PM were considered “private,” they were not included in the Court Circular, and several were reportedly undertaken without the presence of the royal aides who typically accompany the prince when meeting with foreign dignitaries.
Amid calls for a full and transparent probe, the Charity Commission acknowledged it was “considering whether there’s a role for the commission to investigate these matters,” a spokesman said.
According to the reports, during one 2015 meeting at Clarence House, which an adviser described as making everyone present “very uncomfortable about the situation,” the prince was handed a bag holding €1 million in €500 notes (dubbed the ‘Bin Laden’ for the apparent frequency with which it was used in funding terrorism and other illegal activity, the €500 notes were discontinued in 2019). Royal aides counted the notes and turned them over to the private Coutts bank, the official financial institution of the royal family, where it was placed into PWCF’s accounts.
During another handover, the cash was presented in bags from department store Fortnum and Mason, again raising eyebrows among those concerned with propriety.