Prince Charles met with his fundraiser ‘fixer’ nine times in cash-for-access scandal

Britain's Prince Charles visits Goldman Sachs in London

Over the weekend, there was a big headline about Prince Charles. The headline was about Charles and his father’s last conversation. Charles called Prince Philip on April 8th, while Philip was being cared for at Windsor Castle (and Charles couldn’t visit his father in person). Charles broached the subject of Philip’s upcoming 100th birthday, only Philip was hard of hearing, so Charles was shouting down the phone, “We’re talking about your birthday! And whether there’s going to be a reception!” And Philip replied, “Well, I’ve got to be alive for it, haven’t I?” That’s it. That was the story which American and British media outlets talked about like it was the big royal story.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times dropped yet another exclusive about Prince Charles’ ongoing cash-for-access scandal. The scandal is as dry as can be, and yet the Sunday Times persists with their coverage. This has been happening for the better part of two months, and it’s clear that *someone* close to Charles and his foundation has been gunning for Chuck. Charles has denied having any knowledge of his foundation’s executives promising access to him, promising knighthoods and honors and promising British citizenship to foreign nationals. But he was the one meeting with the fixer (the middleman) in all of these access schemes.

The Prince of Wales met the fixer at the heart of the royal “cash for honours” scandal at least nine times in Britain and abroad. Clarence House has said Charles had “no knowledge” of the practice of paid intermediaries arranging access to the royal family or honours in exchange for donations to his charities.

However, we have established that the prince has repeatedly seen William Bortrick, the fixer who received thousands of pounds to help secure an honour for a Saudi billionaire and who brokered a personal thank-you letter from Charles to a Russian donor. The pair have met in England, Scotland and Saudi Arabia over the past seven years. Bortrick attended donor dinners hosted by Charles at Dumfries House, the royal residence in Ayrshire; saw the prince in London at Clarence House, St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace; and met the prince over tea and sandwiches at the British embassy in Riyadh.

In summer last year Charles, 72, and Bortrick, 48, took an intimate stroll in the gardens of the Castle of Mey, the Queen Mother’s former home in Caithness. They were joined by the gardener and a trustee of the Prince’s Foundation, Charles’s flagship charity. Weeks earlier Bortrick had brokered a six-figure donation to the charity from a Russian banker in exchange for a meeting with the prince. He received a £5,000 cut of the donation to cover “expenses”. On August 5, shortly after the meeting, Bortrick wrote to the Russian: “I have just had an excellent private visit with HRH the Prince of Wales — who appreciates your generosity and asked me to send his personal good wishes to you.”

[From The Sunday Times]

Charles even sent Bortrick a personal Christmas card! The Times details how the three members of Charles’ foundation have already resigned and somewhat fallen on their swords for the boss, when really it was Charles all along. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the Times of London is having difficulty proving that Charles was “in” on all of the cash-for-access schemes, and Charles likely did have plausible deniability about some of the arrangements made by Michael Fawcett especially. But there’s a growing body of evidence that Charles knew a lot. He knew that Bortrick was getting a “cut” of the shady donations to the foundation. He was meeting with Bortrick regularly for years. There’s a trail of emails promising access, citizenship and honors for donations to Charles’ foundation. The Times has extensive reporting about Bortrick’s presence at Charles’ “fundraisers,” and not just that, private meetings between prince and fixer which were purposefully excluded from the Court Circular.

And again, I’m asking how the Times of London is getting their hands on the foundation’s internal emails? How are they getting access to Charles’ private meetings? And how are they getting all of the fixer’s emails too? It’s all very curious. I also think it’s interesting that as of this moment, it feels like Charles is on the back foot – he either wasn’t prepared to make a larger defense for himself, or he’s trying to avoid a big reaction to this reporting for fear his response will draw more attention to it.

The Prince of Wales, Royal Founding Patron,  joined representatives of the British Asian Trust before they embarked on the charity’s ‘Palaces on Wheels’ cycling event. At the prince’s Highgrove, home , Tetbury, Gloucestershire,

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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30 Responses to “Prince Charles met with his fundraiser ‘fixer’ nine times in cash-for-access scandal”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I think Charles is banking on two things – the first being that this is sort of a dry scandal, so to speak (there’s no sex, no dramatic stories about the employee at the charity who TRIED To stand up to them and was fired and has turned whistleblower), so its just less interesting to most people. The second thing is what many of us have said – that there’s always kind of been an assumption that this is how things work, that bigger donations get you access to important people, even royals.

    The honors and citizenship add a completely different level to it of course, and we can argue whether any type of cash for access is ethical, but my guess is that a lot of people are seeing the headlines and shrugging and saying “yeah yeah, that’s how it goes.” It doesn’t mean its RIGHT but it is expected to a certain extent.

    And I think Charles is banking on those two things being true enough that the story fades away because the public just won’t care that much. But we shall see how this plays out.

    • Chelsea says:

      I think it’s also worth pointing out that the headlines keep emphasizing a Cash For Honors scandal but hardly ever mention the citizenship part. There also isnt enough focus on the fact that this charity isnt for feeding the hungry; it’s for keeping up estates.

      I feel like if there were headlines blaring that foreigners were getting help with getting citizenship by paying money to essentially keep up Charles property there would be a huge blowback from Brexit Britain. I mean these people are literally facing food shortages in part because they wanted to limit the amount of foreigners who could walk through their border. There’s no way there wouldn’t be anger about this.

      • The Other Sarah says:

        I totally agree. The press should call it what it is – bribery. It might be legal bribery, but it’s a quid pro quo of pay money to X find, which *happens* to pay for the upkeep of my fancy castle(s) and in exchange I’ll get you citizenship/an honor/etc.

  2. Amy Bee says:

    He’s like Andrew, he’s hoping it will blow over. In his case, it probably will. The maintenance of the status quo is very important to the British establishment and they’re not going to be any calls from the press or the Tory Government for Charles to account for his criminal activity.

  3. Jais says:

    All these details have me thinking that William is not behind this bc how would he know these things. At the same time maybe he made an alliance with someone closer to Charles. This is all speculation but I’m trying to think of when the Times has ever written a negative story about William. Was there one that I missed? Although, I think TOB story was from the Times and that was low key shady and funny so idk?
    Also, I don’t like William so my natural bias is to think he’s behind everything, which prob keeps from seeing the bigger picture lol

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I think William Bortrick is behind all of this. I think William Bortrick knows he is going down and is bound and determined to take Charles & Michael Fawcett with him.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      I don’t think any of the royals are behind these stories. I think the info is from someone who works for the foundation in question or, more likely IMO, someone on Charles’ staff who has access to his calendar and emails, etc. I do wonder who but I also wonder about their motivation. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate conspiracy (though they are more fun to debate) but rather someone who’s just fed up with the corruption in Charles’ household.

      Edit: @BayTampaBay – that’s an interesting and plausible possibility.

      • Mac says:

        The details are coming from someone with intimate knowledge of the workings of the foundation. Disgruntled employee, or disgruntled employee’s ex-partner, are my best guess. Or possibly a donor who bought what Bortick was selling and didn’t get the expected return.

      • Becks1 says:

        I don’t know who is behind it at this point – its definitely someone who knows LOTS of information and details about how the foundation is run – who would know that Charles was walking in the garden at the Castle of Mey with three other people?

        My initial thought was William, but this is way too detailed and too much of a slow drip to be William. Then I was on board with the BP staffers theory, which is still plausible to me in some ways, but I’m also just coming to accept that this is just someone at the foundation. Someone high up at the foundation, who knows names and dates and monetary amounts, and someone who does not feel any loyalty to charles for some reason.

    • Sofia says:

      My theory was that it was BP courtiers not wanting to be fired once Charles is King and therefore attacking him or even the government warning Charles to keep his nose out of their business and they’ll keep their nose out of his. But I think it could just be Occam’s Razor and it’s a foundation staff (maybe multiple) who don’t like this and have turned whistleblower.

      Whoever it is, they’ve got lots of access and insight into Charles’ communications/diary.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        I doubt that the BP courtiers (who exactly? The Queen’s Private Secretary is Charles’ man in the sense that he got the job that Geidt was ousted from by Charles and Andrew) have access to papers and communications regarding Charles’ foundation since they are the Queen’s Household and not Charles’.

        We talk about a “soft regency” in place – but how exactly does this work logistically? I suspect that several duties are undertaken by Charles and his staff rather than the Queen and her staff.

        There’s no doubt that on occasion to royal household brief against each other through anonymous leaks – but they are NOT the only players on the scene, especially not the larger political scene, or politically adjacent scene that this particular scandal is playing out on. I think it is very reductive to just always say that it is “this and this royal” who is behind every single royal story whether it be scandalous or embiggening. There are several players on the field and they don’t always work together or are directed by one palace or the other.

        I’m interested in how this story started. Did someone approach the journalist who broke the story with information? Was it a persistent reporter sniffing around? There’s a lot of stuff that we don’t know.

      • Sofia says:

        We often talk about a “soft regency” taking place and if that has happened, it’s possible Charles has quietly phased out BP courtiers and replaced them with his own men. It’s possible a few of them are disgruntled or don’t want to be next on the chopping block and have spoken to whoever is left inside “loyal” to the queen or whatever and they’ve got access to Charles’ charity’s communications and all this transpired.

        Or like I said, it’s the government who’s telling Charles to stay away from their business as he has been known to meddle. Or again, Occam’s Razor. A foundation employee or multiple isn’t happy with everything and has turned whistleblower. It’s definitely a lot more complicated like you say.

    • Amy Bee says:

      @Jais: It’s BP courtiers. Charles is the unofficial regent and their positions at the Palace are under threat.

  4. Cessily says:

    Stated better by others..

  5. Merricat says:

    I think this is Edward and Sophie. Regardless, a fish rots from the head down, and the Windsors are stinking.

  6. Jay says:

    Yeah, remember Meghan’s murderous wedding gift earrings? None of that rhetoric here, huh.

    I also love that they are trying to make Charles into some bumbling, clueless Lord Grantham character, meeting multiple times but somehow never realizing it was a cash for honours deal. Poor elegant Charles had no idea it was a scheme, he thinks the best of everyone! Maybe he just thought the man shared his passion for the environment! 🙄

    If he’s really that gullible, maybe he shouldn’t be on the throne.

  7. LaraW” says:

    Whoever is behind all this, they are very disciplined and methodical. There’s an interesting framing of the narrative:

    1. They broke the news, allowed Charles to make his statements of complete ignorance. They began their coverage with ID’ing a relatively mild case, where people just pay to have dinner with Charles.

    2. They then honed in on his closest advisors who were then forced to resign/step down. The allegations get more serious as it’s revealed it’s not just dinner, but citizenship and honors. Also they begin to hone in on certain, specific transactions— namely the one(s) involving Russians and Saudis.

    3. Now they are tightening the noose on Charles himself, showing that he’s been lying about at least certain aspects of the scheme. Emails are coming out, specifics about how all of this was arranged, who did what, how much contact did Charles have, where and how manu times did they meet. Even down to the specifics of exactly how much Bortrick made from brokering the deal.

    It’s clear that the unrolling at this point is more than just drips and drabs. They are keeping this story alive by bringing out more information every week (rather than hourly/daily updates). I have the feeling that there’s more to come, and possibly worse.

    Also what I find interesting is that Bortrick is named throughout. No “sources close to,” no “it is said to have been,” but also very careful to contain this entire thing to Charles, and Charles only. There’s no mention of BP, KP, the Tory government, even though we KNOW they all must have been aware/involved somehow (see: initial story of Camilla’s nephew, who seems to have disappeared from this narrative. The surgical precision of this makes it seem like this behavior is centered around Charles and his trust only, even though all individuals involved 100% have their fingers in many cookie jars.

    Question is, then, how does Charles make it go away? This has all the markings of a long campaign, and I don’t know if it’s going to just disappear if Charles makes some sort of behind-the-scenes capitulation. Which just leaves me wondering what the endgame actually is.

    • Jay says:

      Yes, this appears to be someone with discipline, media savvy, and access to useful info/ details. So, probably not a family member, lol.

      My guess was it was somebody within the foundation trying to settle old scores, but now that Charles has been implicated more specifically, I wonder if someone is making a move to clean house, replace some Charles loyalists and further their own agenda.

      • LaraW” says:

        The thought occurred to me— of the individuals forced to resign/step down, do you think Charles promised them positions of prominence within the monarchy once he becomes king?

        Regardless of who is doing this, if you think about it in terms of “the days when the king’s advisors were executed/assassinated,” it’s close to a takedown. I’m assuming advisors to the king need security clearance? Would proof of dealings with Russians prevent those individuals from obtaining the necessary clearance?

        It’s just, this very specific focus that seems to be emerging with respect to Russians buying access which in turn to point not only to general corruption, but possible national security concerns? I have no idea, I’m just spitballing here.

        I’m getting into the territory of conspiracy theory, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my degree in Slavic Studies, it’s that no one does conspiracy better than Russians. I’m waiting for the papers to reveal that the individuals in question have major ties to Putin. Because that’s just how it goes.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        LaraW, let’s not forget, too, that TQ’s COUSIN, Duke of Kent (Prince Michael, husband of Pushy), was caught selling “favors” for Russian introductions to govt. as well. Wonder how it’s all tied together.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Well I always wonder who benefits. None of the palaces or courtiers benefit from tarnishing the reputation of the future King, whatever their internal squabbles may be. And as you pointed out, this is much more specific than the typical palace gossip (no “palace sources”). So if cash for access has been the royal playbook for years, as seems to be the case (Charles, Andrew, maybe how Philip got his millions), then why is this being reported now?

      To me, the only ones who benefit from this are the Tories, who are overseeing a disastrous Brexit, are up to their ears in corruption & Russian cash/influence. Charles can be a good distraction, but he can’t be removed (no harm, no foul). And it wouldn’t hurt to embarrass the future king & maybe get him under your thumb before he takes the throne.

      • LaraW” says:

        This makes a lot of sense to me, especially your point on how Charles can’t be removed. Also, his reputation is in the gutter anyway, what’s a little more piled on top?

        Like you said, no harm, no foul.

      • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

        That makes a LOT of sense, esp. for Pedo and Philip, both who amassed about £40 MILLION pounds.

      • SarahCS says:

        I’d vote for this theory.

    • Becks1 says:

      I also want to know who is being disciplined and methodical. The newspaper, or the person leaking the information? If the Times is being strung along with these stories and is only getting the information in drips, then I would look at people with access to this info and their background and connections. the person leaking this slowly knows what they are doing and I would guess they have some journalism experience.

      I don’t think the Times is stringing this along, wouldn’t they want to get the full story out there as soon as they have it and make as big a splash as possible with the news? But stranger things have happened.

  8. Eurydice says:

    Well, there were only 4 people in that “intimate stroll” (odd turn of phrase, btw). Charles wouldn’t leak and Bortrick wouldn’t, either, so that leaves the gardner and the trustee of the foundation. Somebody’s been blabbing to somebody about the Russian.

  9. Jaded says:

    Charles is no better than his disgusting pedo brother at the “greasing the wheels of commerce” tactics. They’ve both had involvement with some of the most repressive, crooked and deadly regimes in the world and profited by it. This actually started with the “Airmiles Andy” revelations of the nineties and early 2000s. He had connections to shady politicians in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Libya and Turkmenistan, held meetings with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif, and entertained the son-in-law of Tunisia’s ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at Buckingham Palace. Let’s not forget his “friendship” with Timor Kulibayev, son-in-law of the president of Kazakhstan, who purchased the duke’s Sunninghill Park home for £3 million more than its £12 million asking price in 2007.

    I think there’s a lot of incriminating information on Charles that’s being held back and doled out in small reveals, just enough to keep him scared and march to the Tory drum.

  10. SarahCS says:

    I am loving how Charles is trying to be all ‘sorry to this man’ and the Times is firmly saying ‘nope, you clearly DO know this man’. Keep it coming please.

  11. Royalle says:

    Yawn

  12. GonzoBaby says:

    Do you think this is Kensington Palace’s push to get Charles removed from succession and having William installed as the next Monarch? It sort of feels like it…