Is Prince Charles daft?

I was surprised to read that Prince Charles had accepted large amounts of cash from a billionaire Qatari, apparently to go towards his charity.

Claims in the Sunday Times that Charles accepted three donations between 2011 and 2015 from former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani – known as “HBJ” – were described as “shocking” by critics. One donation, totalling €1m, was reportedly handed over in a small suitcase and another was stuffed in a carrier bag from upmarket department store Fortnum & Mason.

The cash, allegedly then counted by Charles’s aides and subsequently collected by Coutts bank, was paid to the Prince of Wales’s charitable fund which aims to “transform lives and build sustainable communities” through awarding grants.

Even if the donation was legitimate and all the money ended up in the appropriate charities as Charles and his aides claim, how could he have not realized how bad this looks? In this day and age with all the sophisticated ways of transferring money securely by electronic means, who but crooks exchange huge amounts of cash in suitcases and bags?

The campaign group Republic today demanded full disclosure from Charles over this latest controversy and said it would be writing to Prince Charles, the government, MPs and the Charity Commission. Graham Smith of Republic said the claims were “shocking” and raised ethical questions.

“Prince Charles met Sheikh Hamad in private, with no officials present and with no disclosure of the meeting in the court circular,” said Smith. “Sheikh Hamad faces serious accusations over human rights and has significant financial and other interests here in the UK.”

Norman Baker, a former government minister and Liberal Democrat MP, who has written a book on royal finances, said: “A million dollars in cash stuffed into Fortnum and Mason bags, or shoved into a holdall or a suitcase, and handed over behind closed doors. This is what one might expect from a South American drug baron, not the heir to the British throne. It seems there are no lengths Charles will not go to get money for his good causes.”

Of these latests claims, Baker said: “[Charles] is already involved in a police investigation as a result of my complaint to the Metropolitan police last year. This is grubby, scuzzy behaviour which reinforces the view many are reaching: that Charles is not fit to be king.

“He doesn’t behave in any way which is appropriate to his position. If an MP behaved in that way they would be out of parliament.”

I almost never pay by cash anymore. I find it much easier to pay with a credit card, even for small amounts. It boggles the mind that transactions on this scale would be done in cash.


  1. johnson catman says

    I still like the anonymity of cash for the occasional eating out (which we don’t do so much anymore).

  2. Jazzlet says

    To answer your question, yes Prince Charles is daft. He honestly, and with some justification believes that the rules do not apply to him. This is partly true because he as part of his training to become king gets to have his lawyers review potential new laws before Parliament sees them to make sure they don’t infringe on his rights and priviledges; so the only land owner in Scotland exempt from having to allow district heating schemes on their land is the Crown estate, because the Queen didn’t want that on her property. See also his brother Andrew.

  3. Dunc says

    Yes. Daft as a brush. Only not a shoe-in for Upper Class Twit of the Year because it’s such an incredibly strong field, and he may be able to tie his own shoelaces.

    (So much for Betteridge’s Law of Headlines…)

  4. moarscienceplz says

    Yes, I was greatly amused when I read about this. Although, I do find the Fortnum & Mason shopping bags to be rather tacky. Surely one of their picnic hampers would be a much more elegant way to deliver wads of cash to the future King. Perhaps when Charlie does ascend the throne, he could have a night deposit slot installed in the wall of Buckingham Palace. It makes bribery much more convenient for all parties concerned.

  5. cartomancer says

    Obviously, yes. We’ve seen the man’s complete inability to ahieve anything of note for seventy years. Why is this a surprise?

    Though the article is wrong on one thing -- he’s behaving in an entirely fitting way for a king, because that’s how kings and queens behave. The very office is an unnecessary anachronism, redolent with offensive, archaic ideas about privilege and hierarchy, and should be done away with forthwith.

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    The cash, allegedly then counted by Charles’s aides…

    I served on a grand jury once. There was as drug case, and a vice cop was testifying. “And I counted the money; and when I was done counting, there was three thousand dollars.” I immediately wanted to ask how much money there was when he started counting.

  7. Matt G says

    Isn’t the royal family among those who stashed money offshore, as disclosed by the Panama Papers (as I believe they are called)?

  8. sonofrojblake says

    Betteridge’s Law definitely does apply -- no, Prince Charles is not daft. “Daft” would have been accepting what is obviously a bribe from a Qatari royal in a situation where he might be punished for doing so. No such situation exists, or is ever likely to exist. He will never be called to account or required to explain. There will be no consequences for these actions. Whether he’s “fit to be” king or not is a topic for idle pub chat, which is all Norman Baker is able to engage in, despite his vaunted job history. To Charles, he’s of no more significance than I am.

    The fact is that he IS going to be king because that’s how it works, given that despite appearances so far, his mum definitely is going to die sooner or later and when she does he’ll be king, for a bit. Nobody, least of all Charles, gives two shits what some Lib Dem says.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    No snide allusions to the death murder of “Princess” Di? I call COVER-UP!

  10. sonofrojblake says

    No snide allusions to the death murder of “Princess” Di?

    First: why the scare quotes? That was her actual title until the day she died.

    Second: if the Royal Family had wanted her dead, she’d have died in a hunting accident in 1985.

  11. says

    Bloody ridiculous waste of time. Why couldn’t the Qatari guy have just mailed a Euro or Sterling bank-draft directly to the charity? Or maybe sent them a bitcoin or three?

  12. seachange says

    I wonder how much national british news you read original source? I did that for a bit before realizing just how much of it was about things about their nobility did that were going to have no consequences. Libel laws, and their own odd fondness for these folks (I’ve heard expats here in Southern Calfornia who came here for reasons that are directly related to how their country works neverthess show fondness, so I’m not exaggerating here) means their news about themselves is a waste of time and boring as fuck IMO.

    One does not need to be directly in their queen’s own family to do stuff like this.

    Mostly I am thinking that there are prettier bags and baskets to stuff cash into than an F&M one. If you an image search on Ashdene shopping bags in one tab and Fortnum and Mason shopping bags in another you can see just how uninspired they are.

  13. steve oberski says

    @4 he could have a night deposit slot installed in the wall of Buckingham Palace

    Also very useful for “depositing” bastard royal offspring.

    No CCTV please.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    sonofrojblake @ # 11: …why the scare quotes? That was her actual title until the day she died.

    Huh -- I’d thought she lost that logo due to the divorce, only the media kept using it instead of her previous “Lady Di” label. Apparently I need more lessons in properly addressing aristocrats.

    … if the Royal Family had wanted her dead, she’d have died in a hunting accident in 1985.

    So why does “Randy Andy” persist on this side of the dirt?

  15. KG says

    So why does “Randy Andy” persist on this side of the dirt? -- Pierce R. Butler@15

    He’s reportedly the Queen’s favourite child. Once she’s gone it wouldn’t be altogether surprising if Andrew met with an “accident”.

  16. KG says

    As for Mano’s original question: No, Yes and No! He’s not particularly bright, but neither does he have obvious cognitive disabilities (the first “No”). He’s lacking in common sense (hence his acceptance of huge amounts in cash), because he’s never had to learn any, always having people to clean up after him, in all senses (the “Yes”). But as he is the heir to the throne, he will always have people to clean up after him, and nothing much short of strangling his old Mum would see him removed from that position, so he has no need for common sense, and things it would be daft for almost anyone else to do have no meanignful consequences for him (the second “No”).

  17. KG says

    Charles does have a habit of falling under the influence of extremely unpleasant older male “mentors” and “advisers”, notably his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten, the self-aggrandizing fantasist and child-abuserLaurens Van der Post, and the notorious and extraordinarily prolific rapist, child-abuser and necrophiliac Jimmy Savile. The latter two were also close friends of Margaret Thatcher. One might speculate that Charles’ prediliction for such mentorships (which AFAIK had no overtly sexual component) was a consequence of his (lack of) relationship with his emotionally frigid father, Prince Philip, himself badly damaged by a difficult and lonely childhood. Perhaps fortunately, by the time he becomes king, there won’t be many older men available for Charles to fixate on!

  18. Pierce R. Butler says

    KG @ # 16: He’s reportedly the Queen’s favourite child. Once she’s gone it wouldn’t be altogether surprising if Andrew met with an “accident”.

    Fascinating -- and perhaps the best chance to eliminate the monarchy in toto, should it come to pass, and to exposure.

    How long since the British royalty has had a good fratricide?

  19. KG says

    Pierce R. Butler@19,

    Hmm… some cases of murder between more distant royal relatives and one likely parricide (of Edward II of England by his son, Edward III), but the only likely fratricide I can think of immediately (and it is only a suspicion, although a pretty strong one I’d say) is the death of William II of England in 1100 (despite living in Scotland I don’t know pre-union Scottish history all that well, so there may have been a more recent one there) in a “hunting accident” -- William and an arrow came into collision, and the arrow came off best. William (often called “William Rufus” supposedly because he had red hair) was apparently very unpopular among the people who counted, and his brother, who became Henry I, was a member of the hunting party and moved pretty sharpish to secure first the royal treasury and then the throne, not wasting a lot of time mourning.

  20. sonofrojblake says

    @Pierce R. Butler, 15:

    Apparently I need more lessons in properly addressing aristocrats

    Or, y’know, just a working internet connection. All you needed to know is right there on Wikipedia. She lost the HRH, not the “Princess”. Literally five seconds’ research.

    why does “Randy Andy” persist on this side of the dirt?

    Simple -- and not merely that he’s Brenda’s favourite. Nothing will happen to him after she’s gone, because he’s not done anything that embarasses The Firm. He just fucked little people, pretty much on the quiet. As a man, and a prince, that’s his right, as as a second son, practically his job. Diana let herself be fucked by entirely the wrong sort of people -- brown people. And did so brazenly in full view of paparazzi. As a woman, and the mother of the heir to the heir to the throne, that’s off-brand.

  21. Holms says

    #21 son
    Why would a person, when writing about Diana in a casual blog comment thread, bother checking the titles used for her?

  22. Pierce R. Butler says

    KG @ # 20: … one likely parricide (of Edward II of England by his son, Edward III) … the death of William II of England in 1100…

    Pretty slack, by continental royal standards (though at least Ed III started the Hundred Years’ War). I’d thought the Princes whacked so colorfully in the Tower of London had a close relative considered behind it all; it seems clear that John had a solid alibi for Richard’s demise; maybe Oliver Cromwell’s abridgement of Charles I made the whole regicide business seem too damn common for the royals to continue such intrafamilial indignities any further.

    sonofrojblake @ # 21: She lost the HRH, not the “Princess”….

    They don’t go together? Had she survived to see her spawn on the throne, then … oh, never mind.

    Diana let herself be fucked by entirely the wrong sort …

    Now that’s the sort of scandal insinuation I expected from the start!

    Holms @ # 22: Why … bother checking the titles …?

    Well, I did throw in those scare quotes, which I now gather were inappropriate (though I don’t quite yet grasp why…).

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