Queen Elizabeth II addressed the nation earlier this month as she marked the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, using the occasion to reiterate her most famous pledge, first made in 1946: “May my life always be devoted to your service. .” But as tributes to Britain’s longest-serving monarch pour in and plans for summer Platinum Jubilee celebrations begin, the Queen also faces reputational damage to the Royal Family from ongoing scandals.
The ‘cash-for-honours’ scandal surrounding Prince Charles’ charity
Last week it emerged that the Metropolitan Police would investigate allegations that Prince Charles’ charity, The Prince’s Foundation, was involved in a cash-for-honours affair with a Saudi billionaire.
The force said it was investigating alleged breaches under the Honors (Prevention of Abuse) Act 1925.
The Met’s decision to investigate follows reports that Prince Charles’ former valet, Michael Fawcett, has offered to help secure an honor for a Saudi citizen, as well as British citizenship.
Businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz is said to have donated money to restoration projects of interest to Prince Charles.
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After the allegations came to light, Mr Fawcett temporarily stepped back as chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation, before stepping down in November.
Mr. Mahfouz is not charged and denies any wrongdoing.
When the allegations first emerged, the Prince’s Foundation announced an internal inquiry into the allegations, but on the latest developments in the Met’s inquiry said it would be ‘inappropriate to comment on an ongoing inquiry’ .
Clarence House reiterated its previous insistence that Prince Charles had “no knowledge of the alleged offer of honors or British citizenship on the basis of a donation to his charities”.
Charles is chairman of the foundation but is not involved in its governance, with the charity’s trustees overseeing its day-to-day operations.
Prince Andrew’s settlement in the Virginia Giuffre case
Last week, Prince Andrew, Duke of York agreed to pay an undisclosed sum as part of a financial settlement in a US civil sexual assault case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre.
Ms Giuffre had sued the Duke of York, claiming he sexually assaulted her three times when she was 17, allegations he has repeatedly denied.
The Duke has not admitted any liability, but the damage to his reputation is significant.
Part of the settlement saw Andrew pledge to ‘demonstrate regret for his association’ with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein by supporting the ‘fight against the harms of sex trafficking’, with a ‘substantial donation’ to the association Mrs. Giuffre’s charity supporting the victims.
But charities working with survivors of abuse have raised concerns about the Duke’s offer to support victims, Gabrielle Shaw, chief executive of the National Association for Childhood Abuse (Napac), saying “Napac recognizes and is grateful to the many generous fundraisers and donors who are survivors or who support survivors themselves.
“As this trust is at the heart of Napac’s approach, any support for the charity that Prince Andrew might offer would raise significant concerns about the ethical implications of accepting money or sponsorship from someone who is an alleged perpetrator and who had ties to a convict.
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York councilors also called on Andrew to relinquish his title as Duke of York and took steps to strip his honor of freedom from the city.
Liberal Democrat Councilor Darryl Smalley, executive member of York City Council for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said: ‘We are looking to end Prince Andrew’s ties to our great city.
Mr Smalley said York’s connection to the crown and monarchy was an “important part” of the city’s heritage and history.
He added: “However, as a council and a city, we support victims of sexual abuse and do all we can to end violence against women and girls at the local level.
“As such, it is inappropriate for Prince Andrew to retain his title of ambassador which is intrinsically linked to our city.”
There are also ongoing questions over how the Duke will afford to pay the settlement – widely reported to be between £5m and £12m – and whether public funds available to the Royal Family could be used.
How does all this affect the monarchy?
This year was to be a year of celebration, in honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
But there’s no doubt that the start of 2022 has been a difficult one for the Royal Family, with headlines dominated by the ongoing issues outlined here.
On top of that, the Queen, 95, recently contracted Covid – she is thought to be suffering only mild symptoms, but there are concerns about her age.
In a bid to get some good PR, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge – an audience favorite – embarked on a solo trip to Denmark this week and will travel to Wales for a more public face-to-face with Prince William next week.
And plans for the platinum jubilee are moving forward, with tickets for the star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace opening to the public on Thursday.
Ten thousand free tickets are now available for the Platinum Party at the Palace on June 4.
Voting, announced Wednesday, will close at 11:59 p.m. on March 23.