A big part of Prince Harry’s personal brand, along with having red hair, and calling out bullshit, is his commitment to charity work. But the anti-Monarchy group Republic has recently side-eyed Harry’s reputation as a charitable hottie. According to them, Harry only cares about lining his own pockets! However, Harry’s rep says that’s just not true.
Newsweek says that Republic recently looked at the Royal Foundation, the charitable organization Harry co-ran with Prince William. The Royal Foundation as we once knew it is no more, and that’s what had Republic suspicious.
In May 2019, it was announced that Harry and William would be splitting the Royal Foundation. Harry and Meghan Markle would be branching off to do their own thing (they eventually formed the non-profit foundation Sussex Royal, which was short-lived, due to them not being able to use the term Royal as non-senior royals). After closing out Sussex Royal, they launched the non-profit Archewell Foundation, named after their son Archie. And before Harry stopped being a senior royal, he launched Travalyst, a non-charitable eco-tourism venture, which may or may not have been damage control for that time he and Meghan got called out for running up some mileage on a bunch of private jets. Meanwhile, William and Duchess Kate continued to run the Royal Foundation.
When Harry and Meghan split, the funds in the foundation were split too. Newsweek says that Republic sent a letter to the UK Charity Commission that states that the Royal Foundation gave £145,000 (or $183,000) to Sussex Royal, and £144,901 (or $183,057) to Travalyst. The motivation for which was allegedly based on William’s relationship with his brother. Here’s where Republic has a problem. They point out that it wasn’t long after Sussex Royal got their $183,000, that they closed down. They also claim the money that went to Sussex Royal was transferred to Travalyst, which isn’t a charity. Travalyst is currently operating as an independent non-profit based in the UK. Also, Travalyst isn’t a registered charity. The chief executive of Republic writes:
“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.”
Harry’s rep released a statement, slapping at Republic for their “defamatory” accusations, and their implication that Harry has been operating as a reverse Robin Hood by stealing from the poor. His rep also reassures everyone that Travalyst isn’t some kind of secret money-laundering operation that solely benefits Harry’s bank account.
“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. All of The Duke’s charitable activities are fully transparent as well as compliant with Charity Commission guidelines, and moreover with his own moral compass.”
The only problem is, Harry’s rep didn’t exactly address Republic’s accusation that charity money was diverted to Travalyst, which is not a charity. But – not to sound like Jerry Seinfeld – what’s the deal with that £300,000 money transfer? I might be asking that question, but the Royal Foundation certainly isn’t. They released the following statement about all this:
“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.”
The UK Charity Commission released a statement saying that they’re investigating the matter.
“We have received a complaint on this issue. As with all concerns raised with us we will assess the information provided to determine whether or not there is a role for the Commission. We have not made any determination of wrongdoing.”
I have a feeling the UK Charity Commission probably won’t find Harry guilty of any financial wrongdoing. After all, Travalyst was launched with Mother Earth in mind. So it’s not like the money was spent on pool floats for Los Angeles. Harry and Meghan have nothing to worry about. Well, just so long as none of the money was then further moved into a charity called The Ribbit Ribbit Repayment Relief.