Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were just hit with some bad news when their charity Sussex Royal was reported to the authorities for “conflicts of interest, inappropriate use of funds and a lack of independence.”
Daily Mail  reported that the anti-royal campaign group Republic reported both Sussex Royal and The Royal Foundation, which is the charity of Prince William and Kate Middleton, to the Charity Commission.
The group is alleging that the funds have been transferred from one group to the other and that “the only rationale for the decision was the personal relationship between two patrons, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge.”
The group is claiming that The Royal Foundation gave £145,000 as a grant to Sussex Royal and £144,901 to Travalyst, which is the royal’s eco-tourism scheme.
Sussex Royal was shut down earlier this month after Queen Elizabeth decided that Harry and Meghan can no longer use the word “royal” in their “branding.”
“I am writing to lodge a formal complaint against the Royal Foundation (Charity no. 1132048) and Sussex Royal (Charity no. 1185074),” Republic CEO Graham Smith wrote in a letter to the Charity Commission.
“These two charities appear to be in breach of guidelines regarding the proper use of charitable funds and may be failing in their duty to act independently and solely in the interests of their objectives.”
“The Royal Foundation gave a grant of £145,000 to Sussex Royal and £144,901 to a noncharitable organisation (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,” he added.
“Neither patrons are trustees of the Royal Foundation, so there is also a question mark over the independence of the trustees of the Royal Foundation. ”
The Sussex Royal charity has since decided to close, and it is reported that they will transfer all their funds to Travalyst,” Smith wrote. “Again, this appears to be a personal decision by a trustee (the Duke of Sussex) to fund another of his projects, rather than to ensure the funds are being used for the original purposes for which they were donated.
“I would argue that these grants fall within the definition of ‘a person or organisation receiving significant financial benefit from a charity’ and/or ‘a charity not following the law, with damaging consequences to its reputation and public trust in charities generally,'” he concluded.
Smith doubled down on this in comments he made about the situation today:
“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 underhand. 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.
Harry and William aren’t trustees of the Royal Foundation, so this also raises questions for the Foundation’s board. Are they focused on delivering the charity’s objectives or serving the princes’ interests?
I’m asking the Charity Commission to investigate these two charities, to ask them to provide justification for these payments and to demonstrate that they are not in thrall to their royal patrons.”
The Royal Foundation responded to this with a brief statement, saying, “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.”
Sussex Royal has yet to comment on the situation.
This opinion piece was written by Mark Baker on July 20, 2020. It originally appeared in UpliftingToday  and is used by permission.
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