Richard Fitzwilliams defends Prince Charles over charity scandal
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Prince Charles was implicated in the ‘cash-for-honours’ scandal last month, in which he and a former aide were reported to the Metropolitan Police over the claims. Clarence House has said it and the Prince of Wales had “no knowledge” of the alleged scandal, but a source with access to the Prince has now claimed he “must have known” such things went on within the Royal Family’s teams.
Howard Hodgson, a biographer who published a book about Prince Charles said to contain “startling” revelations about him, told Express.co.uk that Charles “must” be aware that cash-for-honours happens as the monarchy has long relied on the practice.
He said: “Cash-for-honours has been around as long as the Monarchy… Is he told about cash-for-honours? Of course not. Does he think it happens? Of course he must.”
He added: “I warned him of these dangers 30 years ago.”
Mr Hogdson said the Prince looked “surprised” during the encounter in 1991.
Mr Hodgson said the practice – in which paid intermediaries arrange access to the royal family or honours in exchange for donations to royal charities – was an old practice, and one that has a positive impact.
He said that if Charles “had listened to me in 1991 then several thousand young people over the last 30 years would have not had their lives changed for the better as a result of my bashful approach”.
He said the Prince would not, however, have been aware of the details of the deals done.
Mr Hodgson said that “no one ever tells [Charles] how they scoop up the cash” so as not to “compromise him by telling him the details.”
He added: “If he were to ask too many questions and want to be ridiculously politically correct then no money would be raised and so no good would be done.”
In response to the original allegations, a Clarence House spokesman said: “The Prince of Wales has no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities and fully supports the investigation now underway by the Prince’s Foundation.”
Royal sources say it is up to the Government to decide on all awards, including honorary ones, before the Palace is informed that they should be presented.
A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office told Express.co.uk: “Rigorous processes are in place to protect the integrity of the honours system which is designed so that no one person can offer, or guarantee, an honour.”
The sale of honours or peerages is illegal under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925.
Scotland Yard has now received two requests to investigate the allegations against the Prince and his former valet, Michael Fawcett.
The pressure group Republic reported Charles and Mr Fawcett on suspicion of breaching the law, and Norman Baker, the former Liberal Democrat MP, has also asked Dame Cressida Dick, the Met commissioner, to open an investigation.
The heart of the claim is that Mr Fawcett offered to help secure a knighthood and British citizenship for Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, a Saudi billionaire, who donated more than £1.5 million to Charles’s charities, as reported in the Sunday Times.
That newspaper reported a 2017 letter, written when Mr Fawcett was chief executive of the Dumfries House Trust, in which he said the charity was “willing and happy” to use its influence to help Mr Mahfouz in light of his “generosity”.
Mr Fawcett has temporarily stepped down as chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation while an investigation is underway at the charity.
The scandal deepened when the Sunday Times followed with another allegation, that Prince Charles has met with William Botrick – the alleged fixer of the deal – “at least nine times”.
Charles is alleged to have met Mr Bortrick in England, Scotland and Saudi Arabia over the past seven years.
Mr Bortrick is the editor and owner of Burke’s Peerage, a genealogical publication that chronicles the aristocracy.
A spokesperson for Mr Bortrick told the Sunday Times: “Mr Bortrick is a proud supporter of the Prince’s Foundation.
“In his dedication to the foundation, Mr Bortrick has introduced a number of potential benefactors to the Prince’s Foundation.”
They said he had met the prince only “in a group setting and never in private”.
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