King Charles III had often made news for all the wrong reasons, such as when he accepted millions of dollars in cash from the prime minister of Qatar or when he shook hands with despot Robert Mugabe at the funeral of Pope Paul VI. What You Need to Know About Britain’s Prince Charles, III, and His Most Contentious Times
The long wait is over, and Charles is now the monarch. He will become the oldest British monarch ever at the age of 73. Charles, originally the Prince of Wales, has thus had ample opportunity to amass numerous controversies. Even though he has been the king’s heir since he was three years old, Charles has never received the same love and support from the public as his mother.
King Charles has been through it all: marital problems, being labeled aloof and distant, accusations of meddling in politics on issues as diverse as architecture, homeopathy, and climate change.
In June, a UK media outlet claimed that the then-heir to the British throne had accepted a suitcase full of cash from the former prime minister of Qatar for a charitable donation. According to the Sunday Times, the 73-year-old received three cash packages from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, all of which came in a suitcase.
From 2011 to 2015, the Prince received personal delivery of the three parcels valued at an estimated €3 million. There have been reports that the royal family has donated millions to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF), a low-key grant-making organization that supports causes near and dear to the heart of the Prince of Wales and his Scottish estate.
There have been requests to investigate despite the newspaper noting that there is no allegation the payments were illegal. The Guardian reported that critics believed it showed the future king was lacking in good judgment, especially in light of Qatar’s human rights record. One commentator likened Charles’s behavior to a “South American drug kingpin.” In contrast, another compared the sight of Charles’s aides counting out the cash to a scene from the sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
Earlier this year, a group of journalists called the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the results of their investigation into offshore tax havens used by the world’s affluent. Paradise Papers, a sequel to 2015’s ‘Panama Papers,’ revealed the offshore financial information of celebrities like Shakira, Bono, and Lewis Hamilton.
The Duchy of Cornwall, Prince Charles’ private estate, was shown to have invested covertly in an offshore business that fought to amend climate agreements, according to the Paradise Papers obtained by the BBC. Sustainable Forestry Ltd pushed for a change in international treaties that would allow the trading of “carbon credits” derived from tropical forests.
The Duchy of Cornwall, Charles’s estate, has increased its funding for sustainable forestry by a factor of three in just one year, thanks to speeches given by Charles in its favor. The reasoning behind this is obscure. The Duchy has stated that the Prince is not involved in any investment decisions. According to the story, Prince Charles has denied ever making a public statement on a matter because of a possible investment by the Duchy in a related company. The Queen, Charles’s mother, was also included.
‘Black Spider Memos’
While the British royal family is cautious to stay out of politics, Charles has not exhibited quite the same dedication. In 2015, a trove of 27 letters, ten written by Charles and sent to government leaders like former Prime Minister Tony Blair over the years, was released. The letters covered topics like agriculture, Northern Ireland, and other issues. The Spectator reports that many government ministers have received “black spider” memos, so dubbed because of his unusual handwriting style.
“With Catherine beside him, Our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire…” 👑🇬🇧
– King Charles III pic.twitter.com/CFt0vObitO
— Kayla Adams (@KaylaAdams___) September 9, 2022
British media alleged in 2009 that Charles, his second wife Camilla Parker Bowles, and his eldest son William had given the moniker “Sooty” to a wealthy Indian property developer and polo acquaintance named Kolin Dhillon. Those rumors surfaced following a racial controversy involving Prince Harry, the younger son of Charles, and a former Pakistani cadet whom he once called “Paki” in a home video from three years ago.
Although Harry publicly apologized for calling Ahmed Raza Khan “our little Paki friend,” the British royal family has denied that Charles or his two sons are racist. Clarence House said, “We are not going to comment regarding a nickname supposedly used at a certain club.”
It is entirely absurd to assume the Princes are racist. Regardless of their backgrounds, all three are dedicated to assisting people in need through their charitable work in the United Kingdom and worldwide. The Prince of Wales has a firm stance against bigotry of any kind. The statement continued that his record speaks for itself regarding promoting religious and ethnic diversity and understanding.
Dhillon, who regularly competes in polo matches with Prince Charles and other royals at the Cirencester Polo Club, not far from the Prince’s Highgrove home, defended Charles. You know you’ve made it when people start calling you by a different name than your given one, I’m afraid. Sooty is a term of endearment used by friends of Kolin’s without any malice intended, and he enjoys being called by the nickname. The Prince of Wales is a man of zero prejudice, Dhillon continued, and both of his sons have always been the most respectful people I’ve ever met.
Shaking Hands With Mugabe
On the occasion of the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005, Charles sparked controversy by shaking hands with the dictator of Zimbabwe at the time, Robert Mugabe. Mugabe was isolated because the EU had issued an exclusion order against him. As a devout Roman Catholic, Mugabe ignored the embargo and attended the funeral in the Vatican, which is not a member of the European Union.
Following allegations of vote manipulation in Zimbabwe’s parliamentary elections in 2000, the European Union put travel restrictions on members of the Zimbabwean administration. At the time, a spokesperson for the Prince claimed, “The Prince of Wales was caught by surprise and wasn’t in a position to resist shaking Mr. Mugabe’s hand.”
Snubbing China Over Dalai Lama
After declining an invitation to a farewell meal at the Chinese Embassy in 1999, Charles was accused of snubbing President Jiang Zemin. According to South China Morning Post, the British heir to the throne, a well-documented fan of the Dalai Lama, wants nothing more to do with the then-president.
Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra, and the Duke of Kent were all present at the official banquet, making Charles’s absence all the more noticeable. The meal was a returning tribute to the one held in honor of then-president Jiang at Buckingham Palace at the beginning of his visit, and it strictly adhered to the protocol of State visits to Britain.
According to The Spectator, Charles’s former top adviser Mark Bolland called him a “dissident” who challenged the “prevailing political orthodoxy.”
‘Correct Processes Followed’
Then a Prince, now King Charles III. pic.twitter.com/DuvHC8MOD5
— Pete Souza (@PeteSouza) September 9, 2022
Charles’s representatives confirmed that all the proper channels had been explored. One of Prince Charles’ charities “immediately passed on the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed” concerning the charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, according to a statement released by Prince Charles’ Clarence House office.
According to the publication, the encounter allegedly occurred at Clarence House, and the money was transferred in a holdall. On another page, it is stated that bags from the prestigious London department shop Fortnum & Mason were used to transport the cash.
The previous trustees of PWCF discussed the governance and donor relationship (confirming that the donor was a legitimate and verified counterparty), and our auditors signed off on the donation after a specific inquiry during the audit. We have checked into this event in the past after receiving a few hours notice from The Sunday Times. Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of the PWCF, was reported in an article as claiming, “There was no failure of governance.”
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