Charles’ verdict on bags of cash
The cartoon image of prince charles rubbing his hands happily as he tosses shopping bags stuffed with banknotes into the back of his wine-powered Aston Martin like something out of the irreverent British comedy The Windsors is on the royalist’s mind today.
The image follows the astonishing revelation that the heir to the throne was personally given a briefcase containing €1 million (just over $1.05 million) from a politician representing a wealthy oil-producing Arab state.
It was one of three large amounts of cash, totaling €3 million ($3.2 million), that Prince Charles received in person from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former Prime Minister of Qatar nicknamed ‘HBJ ‘ bears, between 2011 and 2015,” the London Sunday Times reports.
The story, described as “truly shocking” by one senior ethics officer, will cement Charles’ reputation for financial indiscipline among many. While it may be an exaggeration to say it jeopardizes his succession, it certainly raises urgent and new questions about the heir apparent’s judgment when it comes to money matters.
End of last year, Charles lost his chief aide Michael Fawcett, who was forced to step down from Charles’ foundation after it was revealed that he had arranged an honor for a billionaire Saudi donor, explicitly in exchange for donations. Charles denied any knowledge of the transaction scheme, but a reported police investigation into the matter has yielded no answers, discreet to the point of invisibility. Prince Harry pointedly accused his father of being involved in what he described as a “scandal” over the affair.
In the last self-inflicted disaster that befell Charles, Sunday Times Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani handed Charles personal cash on three separate occasions between 2011 and 2015.
On each occasion, HBJ is said to have given the prince €1 million in €500 notes – sometimes referred to as ‘Bin Ladens’ due to its use by terrorist-linked organized crime groups. On one occasion, the money was put in plastic shopping bags from the luxury Chelsea grocer and department store Fortnum & Mason, which has a royal charter from the prince. Another time the money was in a suitcase and the third time in a travel bag.
Clarence House insisted that the Time that it doesn’t matter that the money deposited in an account with exclusive banker Coutts happened to come in cash and that “all proper processes were followed.”
A source described as “one of Charles’s former advisers who handled some of the money,” told the… Sunday Times that ‘everyone was very uncomfortable with the situation’, adding that ‘all we could do was count the money and make a mutual account of what we had done. And then call the bank.”
A member of Qatar’s ruling Al-Thani family, HBJ is a hugely controversial figure, with an estimated personal wealth of $12 billion, who served as Qatar’s prime minister between 2007 and 2013, during which time he had close ties to the UK developed that saw the country’s massive sovereign wealth fund invest in Harrods and London’s iconic skyscraper the Shard.
Charles was believed to have used his influence to get the Qataris to pull out of the redevelopment of a high-profile Chelsea site called Chelsea Barracks. The Supreme Court said Charles’ involvement in the case was “unexpected and unwelcome”.
Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told the… Sunday Times the revelations were ‘really shocking’ saying ‘I wouldn’t distinguish between a politician and a member of the royal family. If the Qatari government wants to make a donation to its foundation, there are good ways to do these things instead of dealing with large sums of cash.”
Beatrice’s card reportedly declined at Glasto
At the other end of the financial scale, Princess Beatrice’s bank card was apparently declined three times at a bar at the British music festival Glastonbury. A spy told the Daily star: “She tried to pay with a card, but it was declined three times.”
Good news for her father, Prince Andrewhowever, on the money front. the mirror reports that author Ingrid Seward told True Royalty TV’s The Royal Beat, “They won’t rule him out because he’s going to get in more trouble and start talking and doing TV interviews and writing books. They don’t want that again. He will be financially secure, but I would be surprised if he kept the royal box.”
Andrew smiles away
If Prince Andrew is concerned about losing his title as Duke of York – after 80% of that city said they wanted to cut ties with him – he didn’t show it on Saturday. the daily mayI showed him merrily on horseback around the estate of Windsor Castle.
As The Daily Beast reportedYork Central MP Rachael Maskell, has put forward the “Removal of Titles Bill” after polls showed 80 percent of citizens want to be freed from their affiliation with the shamed royal, who has refused to stop using the title , which had been given to him as a wedding present in 1986.
Maskell told the Daily mail“In February, as we focused on the lawsuit filed against Andrew, my constituents responded that 80% of people wanted ties to the current Duke of York cut. And that is why I have been meeting with the Clerks here in the House of Commons to see how this can be achieved.”
She found that there were “no mechanisms, even for the monarch, to remove the title. The only real way it could be is for Andrew to stop voluntarily calling himself the Duke of York.”
She added: “Using a title like the Duke of York is an ambassadorial role, it bears the name of our city around the world.
“And it is a city, a city for human rights, the only city for human rights in England. We’re already in a culture clash when we talk about violence against women and girls and the things we’re working really hard on in the city to make York a very safe place.”
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Epstein Victim: Andrew Photo Made Me “Tremble” With Fear
Annie Farmer, a victim of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, tells the sun that the photo of Andrew with Maxwell, his arm around Virginia Roberts Giuffre, makes her tremble. Farmer, speaking Tuesday ahead of Maxwell’s sentencing, said in an impact statement: “I remember physically shaking at my desk in a Houston hospital after seeing Maxwell’s photo with Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew, because it became clear to me how their arrangement had continued.”
“I would never have met Epstein if it weren’t for you,” writes Farmer, who claims the abuse by Epstein and Maxwell happened when she was 16. “You opened the door to hell. And then, Ghislaine, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you used your femininity to betray us, and you led us all through it.” The couple did “unthinkable things” to her, Farmer says.
Royals Rethink Colonial Legacy
A sign that the royals are at least trying to deal with the many horrors of Britain’s colonial past, comes the news that Prince Charles wants slavery to be publicly recognized, much like the annual Holocaust commemoration.
Charles expressed his “personal sadness” at the UK’s ties to the slave trade during a visit to Rwanda last week, no doubt encouraged to speak up about the issue by protests over the legacy of slavery on William and Kate’s recent tour of the Caribbean area, which was criticized in some quarters as “tone deaf.”
A senior royal source told the Sunday Times“He is a patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and he notes that in the UK we now know all about the Holocaust and learn it in school so it is something that is recognized and taught nationally. That is not true of the transatlantic slave trade, and perhaps it should be.
“So, like Holocaust Memorial Day, is there a way to do that? To have a moment, to have a way of remembering it?’