Why one hugely controversial secret system is GOOD for the Royal Family – expert

Prince Charles is 'downsizing' palace says royal insider

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The Royal Family, while holding no real constitutional or political power, is a huge part of life in Britain. Hundreds of charities are associated with the family, some represented by royal patrons and some established by royals themselves. Recently, the public’s trust in this system was rocked when Prince Charles’s team was implicated in the ‘cash-for-honours’ scandal, in which the Prince and a former aide were reported to the Metropolitan Police over the claims.

Clarence House has said it and the Prince of Wales had “no knowledge” of the alleged scandal and “fully supports the investigation now underway by the Prince’s Foundation”.

But the allegations raised the issue of ‘cash-for-honours’, and whether the royals are kept in the dark by their staff.

The sale of honours or peerages is illegal under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925, put in place after British Prime Minister David Lloyd George was severely embarrassed peddling honours for party funds.

And a source has told Express.co.uk the practice is still ongoing.

Howard Hodgson, a royal biographer, said: “Cash for honours has been around as long as the Monarchy.

“In past times the King or Queen of the day would dish out honours in exchange for cash.”

He added that, in current times and with the example of Prince Charles, “these huge amounts do not go to him, but towards helping thousands of underprivileged young people who benefit from The Prince’s Trust or other charities he has set up.”

Mr Hodgson said that, in the case of Prince Charles, he “must” be aware of the fact that “it happens”.

He said: “I warned him of these dangers 30 years ago. He looked surprised then as he will now if asked about the same point.”

However, Mr Hodgson said this doesn’t make Clarence House’s statement untrue, saying that it’s down to the teams working with and for the royals, not the family members themselves.

He said: “Nobody ever tells him how they scoop up the cash. They pull it in and would never compromise him by telling him the details.”

Prince Charles turns a blind eye to the practice, Mr Hodgson claimed, as “if he were to ask too many questions and want to be ridiculously politically correct then no money would be raised and so no good would be done.”

Royal sources say it is up to the Government to decide on all awards, including honorary ones, before the Palace is informed that they should be presented.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office told Express.co.uk: “Rigorous processes are in place to protect the integrity of the honours system which is designed so that no one person can offer, or guarantee, an honour.”

Scotland Yard has now received two requests to investigate the allegations against the Prince and his former valet, Michael Fawcett.

The pressure group Republic reported Charles and Mr Fawcett on suspicion of breaching the law, and Norman Baker, the former Liberal Democrat MP, has also asked Dame Cressida Dick, the Met commissioner, to open an investigation.

The heart of the claim is that Mr Fawcett offered to help secure a knighthood and British citizenship for Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, a Saudi billionaire, who donated more than £1.5 million to Charles’s charities, as reported in the Sunday Times.

That newspaper reported a 2017 letter, written when Mr Fawcett was chief executive of the Dumfries House Trust, in which he said the charity was “willing and happy” to use its influence to help Mr Mahfouz in light of his “generosity”.

Mr Fawcett has temporarily stepped down as chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation while an investigation is underway at the charity.

The scandal deepened when the Sunday Times followed with another allegation, that Prince Charles has met with William Botrick – the alleged fixer of the deal – “at least nine times”.

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