For almost a year, we’ve covered the British royal family doing things like standing inside a tunnel and collecting rubber bands. We do this menial reportage with integrity and grit, because for every tedious story about Kate solving a crossword, for example, we get one about Prince Andrew jerking it for two days straight in 1993. And today, our patience and persistence has paid off, as we’ve been blessed with an actual, good old-fashioned royal scandal from the Sunday Times: Charles, Prince of Wales, son of Lilibet Sr., and next in line to the throne, personally received €3 million from former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (nicknamed HBJ), who just happened to oversee Qatari investments in several London business ventures during his time in office.
The Times reported that Prince Charles was paid in installments between 2011 and 2015, including one occasion wherein HBJ “presented the prince with €1 million, which was reportedly stuffed into carrier bags from Fortnum & Mason, the luxury department store that has a royal charter to provide the prince’s groceries and tea.” On another occasion in 2015, he accepted a “holdall” with an additional €1 million at Clarence House. Looks like Prince Charles is taking after his estranged daughter-in-law Meghan Markle, former Deal or No Deal briefcase girl, for the way this bitch is opening dossiers full of cash. Maybe this could be a healing moment for them based on common ground?
On Saturday night, Charles’s people at Clarence House addressed the scandal, insisting that nothing that went down was illegal. In their version of events, the cash was “passed immediately to one of the prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate covenants and assured us that all the correct processes were followed.” Charles’s aides counted the money and gave it to the bank straight away so it could be deposited in the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, a “low-profile grant-making entity which bankrolls the prince’s pet projects and his country estate in Scotland.”
What’s a mere €3 million between friends, I ask, especially considering Charles’s brother Andrew’s legal problems swiftly went away after the alleged signing of a £13 million check from Mum? Bafflingly, there’s no stipulation in the royal gift policy that prohibits members of the royal family from accepting a “cheque” as a patron of a royal charity. The rules on accepting cash are even more nebulous.
But usually, foreign gifts are handled via more legitimate, official channels, and apparently the Prince of Wales has been accused of promulgating “cash for access” culture in his office, and his bestie Michael Fawcett was busted last year for accepting cash in exchange for a royal “honour” for a Saudi billionaire. HBJ is also a controversial figure who once admitted that Qatar “maybe” financed the Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda, while he was in office.
Can Mum get Charles out of this one? Probably, but she’s never cared much for him, and besides which, she has more pressing pursuits to focus on.