Prince Charles is enduring another batch of negative headlines related to one of his charities, this time over a link to an infamous name. The UK Times of London revealed this weekend that the Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund accepted about $1.2 million in 2013 from the family of Osama bin Laden. Charles brokered the donation himself after meeting with bin Laden's half-brother Bakr, according to the report, which adds that the prince went through with the deal over the objections of top advisers. Royal officials confirmed that the donation was made, but disputed Charles' role in engineering it, per the AP.
"The decision to accept was taken by the charity’s trustees alone and any attempt to characterize it otherwise is false,” said a statement from Charles' office, Clarence House. It added that "due diligence was undertaken" in the decision to accept the money. The donation came from Bakr and another half-brother, Shafiq, about two years after Osama bin Laden was killed, and the New York Times notes that the half-brothers have never been linked to terrorism of any kind, let alone the 9/11 attacks.
Still, as Johnny Dymond of the BBC asks, did Charles "or his inner circle really think it was a good idea to take money from the bin Ladens? Or did they think it was fine so long as it was never made public?" Because, as evidenced by this weekend's controversy, "it was always going to look horrible" once the news surfaced. Separately, police in London are investigating reports that officials with another of Charles' charities, the Prince's Foundation, offered to help a Saudi billionaire secure citizenship in exchange for a donation. And last month, it was revealed that Charles accepted bags of cash for his charities from a Qatari billionaire. (Read more Prince Charles stories.)