Prince Charles risks “alienating” people who are already sceptical about the relevance of the Royal Family following allegations he accepted a suitcase containing a million euros in cash from a former Qatari prime minister, an expert has said.
Mark Borkowski, a leading PR consultant, said revelations about bags of money being passed between a former Qatari prime minister and the future king brought into question the Royal Family’s ability to modernise and to appeal to younger generations who prioritise “values and authenticity”.
There is no suggestion of illegality involving the donations, first reported in The Sunday Times, from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, the former prime minister of Qatar between 2007 and 2013.
Sources close to Prince Charles insist that all the correct processes were followed, with the money given to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF).
In a statement, it said: “Charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were passed immediately to one of the Prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed.”
According to the newspaper report, a holdall of €1m was exchanged during a meeting at Clarence House in 2015.
Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of PWCF, which aims to transform lives and build sustainable communities, told the Sunday Times that “there was no failure of governance”.
He said giving cash had been the donor’s choice and that auditors signed off on the donation.
i has also contacted the PWFC for comment.
Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, said Charles’ handling of the cash was not a Government issue but he was confident the donations would have gone through “proper due process”.
He told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “I’m confident having had some dealings with charities, The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Foundation, around the palace in the past myself, that these will have gone through proper due process.”
Despite there being no suggestion of wrongdoing, Mr Borkowski said the incident was a problem for the Royal Family, which stands “at a really delicate point in its future”.
Mr Borkowski added it was “a generation that really wants to focus on values and authenticity”.
“It’s not the boomers that you’ve got to convince about the future Royal Family, it’s another generation who do not see its relevance.”
Mr Borkowski added: “It’s a very, very significantly negative story after all the celebrations with Jubilee and what the Royal Family stands for. What does this mean?
“It will be interesting to see how the palace deals with it… because it can’t be ignored.”
The Sunday Times report comes as the Prince’s Foundation is under investigation by the Metropolitan Police over an alleged cash-for-honours scandal.
Clarence House previously said Prince Charles had “no knowledge” of the alleged cash-for-honours.