The Prince’s Foundation, a charity established by Prince Charles, is investigating claims that middlemen within the organization have been charging big bucks for access to the royal, and siphoning money from the transactions for themselves.
According to a report in The Guardian, a rep for the foundation said they were taking the recently surfaced allegations “very seriously” after claims emerged that wealthy individuals were being offered dinner with the Prince of Wales and an overnight stay at Dumfries House, his mansion in Scotland, for a price of £100,000 (approximately $175,000 Canadian).
The Guardian reported that an email allegedly lays out the play, “that fixers could take up to 25 per cent of the fees, which were intended for the royal’s charity ventures.”
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The sender of the email was identified as Michael Wynne-Parker, described by a 2003 story in The Guardian as having been “banned by official watchdogs from giving financial advice and serving as a company director,” with the judge at the time stating the businessman has “the modus operandi of a crook.”
The 2019 email explains that five per cent of the fees went to Wynne-Parker, with 20 per cent going to “another middleman,” with the money to be paid to Burke’s Peerage — described as the “who’s who” of Britain’s aristocracy — while claiming that that its editor, William Bortrick, was representing the prince.
“The Prince’s Foundation takes very seriously the allegations brought to its attention by the Mail on Sunday relating to third parties who have introduced prospective donors to our charity in the past,” said a spokesperson for the Prince’s Foundation.
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“We were not aware of any financial gain being sought by these individuals, whom we have never paid, and have ceased our relationship with these individuals and referred the matter to our ethics committee for investigation,” the statement continued. “Michael Wynn Parker [sic] does not represent the Prince’s Foundation and the email he sent is not representative of the foundation’s approach to fundraising.”
After the original report, another alleged fixer, the former aide to Prince Charles, Michael Fawcett, who was now the chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation, temporaily stepped down.
Further claims from the Sunday Times state that Fawcett accepted large donations from Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, in exchange for helping secure him honours.
According to the paper, more than £1.5 million to royal charities were donated and Fawcett stepped aside after the publication brought forward evidence that tens of thousands were given to fixers with “links to the prince who had told him they could secure the honour.”
Mahfouz was presented with his CBE in 2016 by Prince Charles in a private ceremony not published in the Court Circular (the official list of royal engagements).
A spokesman for The Prince’s Foundation said: “The foundation takes very seriously the allegations that have recently been brought to its attention and the matter is currently under investigation.”
The chairman for the foundation, Douglas Connell, added, “Michael fully supports the ongoing investigation and has confirmed that he will assist the investigation in every way.”
Commenting on the allegations, Prince Charles denied knowing about the cash for honours exchange.
Clarence House said in a statement to People, “The Prince of Wales has no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities and fully supports the investigation now underway by The Prince’s Foundation.”
ET Canada has reached out for further comment.