Damage control. Prince Harry’s team shut down “deeply offensive” allegations from anti-monarchy campaigners he mishandled more than $350,000 of royal funds after stepping down as a member of the royal family with his wife, Meghan Markle.
“The Duke of Sussex has always and continues to remain deeply committed to his charitable work. This is his life’s focus, and his devotion to charity is at the very core of the principles he lives by and is obvious through the impact and success of his many charitable projects throughout the UK and beyond,” a spokesperson from Harry’s legal team said in a statement.
They continued to state they are saddened to “see false claims made about the Duke of Sussex and his charitable work,” adding, “It is both defamatory and insulting to all the outstanding organizations and people he has partnered with.”
Before Harry took a step back from his royal duties, he and Prince William ran their charity work through The Royal Foundation. Following his exit, the funds for the organization were split with his own foundation, Sussex Royal. While some money went to Sussex Royal, a portion of the funds went to Harry’s eco-tourism business, Travalyst.
“The Royal Foundation gave a grant of £145,000 ($183,000) to Sussex Royal and £144,901 ($183,057) to a non-charitable organization (Travalyst),” the anti-monarchy group, Republic, wrote in a letter to the U.K. Charity Commission. “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.”
Although Sussex Royal received funding, it was forced to close after Queen Elizabeth ruled Harry and Meghan could no longer use their royal titles. “Travalyst is now operating as an independent non-profit based in the UK, and all assets from Sussex Royal will transfer over,” a source told Newsweek.
“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,” Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, said in a statement. “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.”
According to Harry’s team, “Travalyst (which was founded within Sussex Royal) is a non-profit organization for which The Duke receives no commercial or financial gain, as is the case with all of his charitable commitments,” they said in their statement. “The Duke has not, nor has he ever, had any personal financial interest in his charitable work. All of The Duke’s charitable activities are fully transparent as well as compliant with Charity Commission guidelines, and moreover with his own moral compass.”
Despite the criticism, Harry’s team is certain his charity work is for the greater good and not for his personal gain.