Harry ‘feared public backlash’ when retrieving Diana’s estate — before Charles funding row

Prince Charles criticised for 'messing up' by E! News hosts

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Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are financially independent now, more than a year after they first announced that they wanted to be self-sufficient away from the Firm. Once they officially split from the Royal Family in March last year, they quickly secured a historic Netflix deal estimated to be worth up to $150million (£107million), followed by another lucrative contract with Spotify, alleged to be valued at $35million (£25million). It was also claimed that Prince Charles had passed a comfortable sum onto his son to help him fund his necessary security costs for his first year outside of the monarchy.

But, during his bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview, Harry alleged that without the money “my mum left me”, he and Meghan would not be able to live their currently lavish lifestyle — claiming that his family “literally cut me off” in the “first quarter of 2020”.

However, this latter allegation is now under scrutiny as Clarence House has released its accounts covering the tax year from April 2020.

The documents show Charles supported both the Sussexes, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge to the tune of £4.5million during that period.

Clarence House officials added that the Prince of Wales sent a “substantial” amount to the Sussexes, which only “ceased in the summer of last year” — although the couple have since disputed the idea that these are mismatched accounts.

However, a glance back at Harry’s attempts to access Princess Diana’s estate shows the Duke of Sussex has previously been restricted over fears of public backlash.

Back in 2002, journalist Jamie Wilson noted how the Queen was able to avoid paying more than £20million in inheritance tax when accepting her own mother’s estate, due to an obscure “sovereign to sovereign” clause from the Nineties.

But, writing in The Guardian, he noted: “Prince William and Prince Harry paid £6million in tax on the estate of their mother rather than exploit a similar legal device, because of fears the public would react badly to efforts to avoid the bill.”

Princess Diana left behind an estate worth £21million when she died in 1997 — Harry was just 12 while William was 15.

However, more than £8million was paid in inheritance tax leaving slightly under £13million to the two young royals.

This was expected to be split equally between them once they turned 25.

Before that, the income would be paid at the trustees’ discretion — the royals were also able to ask for their full share once they turned 30.

Royal advisers invested the money after the Princess of Wales’ death, and so the value of the estate rose back to £20million.

While Harry and William narrowly avoided criticism in this incident, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s lavish renovations to their new home in Windsor, Frogmore Cottage, raised eyebrows back in 2019.

But, the couple did also pay back the full £2.4million of taxpayers’ money once they left the Firm and had a deal with Netflix.

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Some reports allege the couple paid a lump sum towards renting the property from the royal estate, too.

The Sussexes also bought a sprawling mansion in the secluded community of Montecito, California, last summer, estimated to be worth close to $15million (£10.8million) with a $9.5million (£6.8million) mortgage.

Harry and Meghan’s decision to purchase such a luxurious property after Charles had supposedly cut them off raised yet more questions about the Sussexes’ financial situation.

When asked about the discrepancy between Clarence House’s recent accounts and the Sussexes’ Oprah allegations, a royal spokesman said: “All I can tell you are the facts.”

But, a Sussex spokesman hit back at the media, and said: “You are conflating two different timelines and it is inaccurate to suggest there is a contradiction.

“The Duke’s comments during the Oprah Winfery interview were in reference to the first quarter of the fiscal year which starts in April.

“The same date the transitional year the Sandringham agreement began and that is in alignment with the Clarence House accounts.”

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