Prince Harry Receives Apology From Anti-Monarchy Group Over Charity Funds

Prince Harry has received an apology from an anti-monarchy pressure group that falsely accused him of mismanaging charity funds.

Republic, which campaigns to abolish the royals, wrote to the Charity Commission in July to complain about how around £300,000 ($420,000) was moved by two charities.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's Royal Foundation paid the money to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Sussex Royal Foundation, with roughly half then being transferred on to Harry's eco-tourism venture Travalyst.

However, the Charity Commission today ruled both foundations operated within the rules.

At the time Republic first made the claims, Prince Harry's lawyers threatened the campaigners with the "weight of the law."

Prince Harry Launches Travalyst
Prince Harry announces a partnership between, SkyScanner, CTrip, TripAdvisor and Visa called 'Travalyst' at A'dam Tower on September 03, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The company was at the center of a regulatory compliance case by the Charity Commission. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Republic said in a statement released today: "We apologize unreservedly to the charities and personally to The Duke of Sussex for our actions and the public damage that has been caused as a result of widely publicized untrue claims."

It added: "On 20 July 2020 we falsely claimed that the transfer of funds from The Royal Foundation to Sussex Royal and to Travalyst was improper and likely to be unlawful.

"We also wrote to the Charity Commission expressing the same points and then widely publicized our letter to the U.K. media without knowing whether what we claimed was true. Our intention was to draw attention to the allegations.

"We did not contact The Royal Foundation and/or Sussex Royal before going to the Charity Commission and to the media, which would have been the appropriate action."

A spokesperson for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said: "We are pleased that the Charity Commission has confirmed what we knew from the start: that MWX Foundation, formerly Sussex Royal, complied fully with U.K. charity law in its handling and transferring of funds and grants.

"Today's update provides complete closure to this review and ultimately underscores both the legitimacy of the former charity and the baselessness of the claims against it."

No legal action against Republic by Prince Harry is recorded at the High Court in London.

The apology was made personally to Harry and the charities, without naming Prince William, who did not complain.

The group's statement came after the Charity Commission released its findings today, clearing both charities of breaching the law.

However, the ten-month regulatory compliance case made some criticisms of the amount of money spent in administrative and legal fees on setting up, then shutting down Sussex Royal, since renamed the MWX Foundation.

The organization was put into voluntary liquidation after Prince Harry and Meghan quit royal duties and moved to America.

They had also agreed with Queen Elizabeth II not to use the word "royal" in their branding.

Helen Earner, director of regulatory services at the Charity Commission, said in a statement: "In this case we have found that the trustees complied with their duties under charity law, and the transfers of funds between different organizations were in keeping with the charities' governing documents, with conflicts of interest being appropriately managed.

"The MWX Foundation should, though, have done more to document its decisions, especially regarding the charity's expenditure on legal and administrative costs.

"We also note that a substantial proportion of funds went into setting up and then winding up a charity that was active for a relatively short period of time.

"Trustees cannot predict future events when establishing a new charity–circumstances can change after a charity has been set up.

"But all trustees, before setting up a charity, should think about the longer-term, and consider carefully whether a new charity is the best way of achieving the intended aims.

"This helps ensure that set up costs are offset by longer-term impact."

In July, Prince Harry's lawyers, Schillings, said: "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.

"To this point, it is deeply offensive to today see false claims made about The Duke of Sussex and his charitable work.

"It is both defamatory and insulting to all the outstanding organizations and people he has partnered with."