A Sussex Royal spokesperson has responded after the anti-monarchy group Republic slammed Princes Harry and William for the alleged mishandling of charity funds.
Republic referred the royals to a charity watchdog, Newsweek reported, after Harry and William split the Royal Foundation funds following the Duke of Sussex’s royal exit.
The organization weren’t happy about the funds first being transferred to Sussex Royal, and then Harry’s eco-travel venture Travalyst after Sussex Royal shut down.
Republic accused the two brothers of “putting their relationship above the interests of Sussex Royal and the Royal Foundation.”
Their letter to the U.K. Charity Commission stated: “The Royal Foundation gave a grant of £145,000 (around $248,000) to Sussex Royal and £144,901 to a non-charitable organization (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.”
A spokesperson who worked with Sussex Royal then said, “Grants made to the non-profit organization 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.”
Harry and Meghan Markle recently announced Sussex Royal was no more after they stepped down as senior members of the royal family on March 31. They’ve since been working on their new organization, Archewell.
A spokesperson for Prince Harry’s legal team, Schillings, said: “The Duke of Sussex has always and continues to remain deeply committed to his charitable work. This is his life’s focus, and his devotion to charity is at the very core of the principles he lives by, and is obvious through the impact and success of his many charitable projects throughout the U.K. and beyond.
“To this point, it is deeply offensive to today see false claims made about the Duke of Sussex and his charitable work. It is both defamatory and insulting to all the outstanding organizations and people he has partnered with. Travalyst (which was founded within Sussex Royal) is a non-profit organization for which the Duke receives no commercial or financial gain, as is the case with all of his charitable commitments.
“The Duke has not, nor has he ever, had any personal financial interest in his charitable work.”
Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, insisted: “Maybe I’m missing something here, but 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. Whatever the legal position this looks unethical and underhanded. People donate money to a charity expecting it to be used to fund the charity’s objectives, not to be given away to support a patron’s other projects.”
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A spokesperson for the Royal Foundation then shared: “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”; a Charity Commission spokeswoman confirmed: “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.”
ET Canada has contacted Harry’s spokesperson for comment.