On multiple occasions this year, Prince Charles has made headlines for his allegedly sketchy “cash for honours” controversy and other money deals, as he reportedly accepted “bags of cash” donations for his charity which, while not necessarily illegal, is definitely kinda suspect considering the amount of money exchanged (in the millions) and his position. Last week a group of students collecting money for the Red Cross knocked at my door and I wanted to make a quick donation and shove them some cash but they insisted I do a whole thing on the phone and calling into headquarters and verifying everything was legit because it was too risky for them to shove the cash into their envelopes – and it was only $50 so WTF is happening with the future king of England accepting all that paper in briefcases that had to be counted by his aides?! It’s weird! And it’s getting weirder!
Because The Sunday Times reported this weekend that The Prince of Wales Charitable Trust accepted a million pound donation from two of Osama bin Laden’s half-brothers in 2013. According to the Times, via PEOPLE, Charles first met with the men at Clarence House and was then advised against accepting the donation but he ended up overriding his aides.
Clarence House is now denying that this is how it went down with a statement saying:
"The Prince of Wales' Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation. The decision to accept was taken by the charity's Trustees alone and any attempt to characterise it otherwise is false."
So they’re transferring the responsibility for the decision to the charity, and the charity has spoken on the situation too:
Sir Ian Cheshire, chair of the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, tells PEOPLE in a statement: "The donation from Sheik Bakr Bin Laden in 2013 was carefully considered by PWCF Trustees at the time. Due diligence was conducted, with information sought from a wide range of sources, including government. The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the Trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate."
Basically Charles is distancing himself, again, from a shady cash situation and others, again, are willing to fall on the sword. But still, it’s not a good look – even if Charles wasn’t directly implicated, because it speaks to the judgment of the people who are working on his behalf. And it’s not just one example now but several examples of those in his orbit making questionable calls. As a leader, ultimately, that has to fall on Charles… because this is the job of a leader. A leader sets the tone and if the same kind of mistake is being made, repeatedly, the leader can’t be completely immune from the stink….
Especially when the stink, you would think, was so easily avoidable. WHYYYYYY would you want the heir of the English throne to be in any way associated with the words Osama bin Laden? Even if there’s no evidence that his relatives are in involved in terrorism, it’s just not a good look, particularly for a super senior member of a family that’s all about appearance and propriety. We hear all the f-cking time about what British royals are supposed to do and not do, what constitutes royal behaviour and what doesn’t, how something as innocent as guest-editing a fashion magazine and profiling female changemakers is “not royal” – FFS, even nail polish colour is scrutinised!!! – but it’s cool for the future King of England to take money in cash bags and accept donations in exchange for titles and negotiate donations from people related to Osama bin Laden?
We are getting closer and closer to Charles’s ascension – the Queen is approaching 100 years of age, let’s not pretend this isn’t imminent. The Firm’s first priority then is to establish that Charles is a worthy successor. Which means that his fitness to succeed should be where the most attention is paid where royal headlines are concerned.