Prince Harry's, Prince William's Charities Defend Payments Amid Calls for Investigation

Prince Harry and Prince William's teams have dismissed calls for an investigation into the movement of more than $350,000 between their charities.

The Royal Foundation once brought together the good causes of the two brothers and their wives, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, until the Duke and Duchess of Sussex broke off on their own.

Anti-monarchy campaign Republic has asked the U.K. Charity Commission to investigate $366,000 (£290,000) of funds that moved between the Royal Foundation and two of Harry's projects.

The first is the now-defunct Sussex Royal, which was closed after Queen Elizabeth II ruled they could not trade off their royal connections.

The second is sustainable tourism initiative Travalyst, set up as a company but described as a "non-profit" by Prince Harry's team.

A spokesperson for The Duke of Sussex's legal team, Schillings, said: "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.

"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 organisations and people he has partnered with.

"Travalyst (which was founded within Sussex Royal) is a non-profit organisation for which The Duke receives no commercial or financial gain, as is the case with all of his charitable commitments.

"The Duke has not, nor has he ever, had any personal financial interest in his charitable work."

A spokesperson who worked with Sussex Royal said: "Grants made to the non-profit organization Travalyst are for the ongoing development of projects that will support communities, wildlife, and the environment through sustainable travel and tourism.

"All grants have been made impartially and objectively, fully in line with governance requirements, and have been reported transparently in full accordance with regulations."

A spokesperson for The Royal Foundation said: "The grants made to Sussex Royal were to support the charitable work of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

"They were fully in line with governance requirements and were reported transparently."

Prince Harry and Prince William Greenhouse Centre
Prince William and Prince Harry attend the opening of the Greenhouse Sports Centre on April 26, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. Toby Melville/Getty

Two payments were made by the charity to Sussex Royal, one to set up the organization and another for Travalyst.

The eco-tourism project was split off from Sussex Royal when the foundation closed down.

Republic claims in its letter to the Charity Commission that the relationship between Prince Harry and Prince William was placed above the interests of the Royal Foundation and Sussex Royal.

They claim the charities are guilty of a conflict of interest and mismanagement of funds.

The pressure group's letter reads: "The Royal Foundation gave a grant of £145,000 to Sussex Royal and £144,901 to a non-charitable organization [Travalyst].

"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."

Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, said: "Maybe I'm missing something here, but I find it difficult to believe that a charity making an independent and impartial decision would decide to make these payments.

"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.

"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."