Duke of Sussex threatens legal action after complaint made to Charity Commission

Duke of Sussex threatens legal action after complaint made to Charity Commission

A spokesman for the Duke of Sussex’s legal team says a complaint made to the Charity Commission against his charitable foundations is “deeply offensive” and “salaciously created” as they vowed to “act accordingly with the weight of the law.”

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, has made the claims after Harry and Meghan’s Sussex Royal charitable body received a six-figure grant from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation.

Harry’s fledgling not-for-profit sustainable travel organisation Travalyst also received funds from the Cambridge’s foundation, and it has received the assets of Sussex Royal which is in the process of being wound up.

A spokesman for legal firm 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. The interest has always been clear: to support others and to make a positive difference.

“Had the appropriate course of action been followed for these false allegations, it would have clearly demonstrated that anything related to Sussex Royal, Travalyst, or any of the duke’s charitable endeavours is transparent and above board.

“To suggest otherwise is unequivocally wrong and will be acted upon accordingly with the weight of the law.

“The avenue through which this was publicly and salaciously created only suggests a hunger for media attention as well as a shared and attacking agenda, which is neither right nor just.

“Both The Charity Commission’s own statement today, as well as that of The Royal Foundation, state there is no determination of wrongdoing here.

“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 Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s foundation was also reported to the Charity Commission for alleged “inappropriate use of charitable funds, conflicts of interest and lack of independence”.

Graham Smith, Republic’s chief executive, said in his letter to the Charity Commission: “The Royal Foundation gave a grant of £145,000 to Sussex Royal and £144,901 to a non-charitable organisation (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.

“Neither patrons are trustees of the Royal Foundation, so there is also a question mark over the independence of the trustees of the Royal Foundation.

“The Sussex Royal charity has since decided to close, and it is reported that they will transfer all their funds to Travalyst.

“Again, this appears to be a personal decision by a trustee (the Duke of Sussex to fund another of his projects, rather than to ensure the funds are being used for the original purposes for which they were donated.”

The Royal Foundation had operated under the names of the Sussexes and Cambridges and was behind national campaigns like the Heads Together mental health project, but in June last year Harry and Meghan revealed they were to formally split from their joint charity and form their own charitable organisation.

The now defunct Sussex Royal foundation was established while William and Kate renamed their organisation the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Sussexes, who now live in Los Angeles after choosing financial and personal freedom over being working royals, are establishing their new foundation called Archewell.

In his letter Mr Smith called on the Charity Commission to “investigate both charities for inappropriate use of charitable funds, conflicts of interest and lack of independence”.

A spokesman who worked with the Sussex Royal foundation said: “Grants made to the non-profit organisation 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 Royal Foundation spokeswoman 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.”

A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “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.”

Duke of Sussex threatens legal action after complaint made to Charity Commission