Royal accounts made public for the first time yesterday showed the future king continued to fund Prince Harry and Meghan Markle until summer 2020 from a £4.4million Clarence House pot used to support his two sons and their families.
This contradicted what Harry told Oprah Winfrey in March when he said he stopped getting financial support from his family in the ‘first quarter’ of last year. He even claimed he and his wife were reduced to living off what ‘my mother had left me’.
But Harry and Meghan’s friend and trusted journalist Omid Scobie tweeted a clip of the Oprah interview this afternoon along with an attempt at a clarification.
Mr Scobie said: ‘Despite some confusing reports, Prince Charles and Prince Harry’s timelines for the period the Sussexes’ financial support ended are the same.
Prince Charles with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Buckingham Palace in June 2018
Harry and Meghan’s friend and trusted journalist Omid Scobie tweeted a clip of the Oprah interview this afternoon along with an attempt at a clarification on Twitter (above)
‘Clarence House says funding continued until last summer (Q1 of the UK’s fiscal year is April to June) and Harry told Oprah the same.’
In the Oprah clip, Harry says: ‘Also the Netflix and the Spotify of it all, that was never part of the plan.’ Meghan then adds: ‘No.’ Oprah says: ‘Because you didn’t have a plan.’ And Meghan adds: ‘We didn’t have a plan.’
Harry then continues: ‘We didn’t have a plan. That was suggested at the point at where my family literally cut me off financially and I had to afford security for us.’
Oprah interjects: ‘Wait, hold up, wait a minute? Your family cut you off?’ And Harry replies: Yeah, in the first half, the first quarter of 2021. But I’ve got what my mum left me, and without that we would not have been able to do this.
Prince Charles attends a Prince’s Trust discussion at St James’s Palace in London yesterday
Details of Charles’s continued financial support for his estranged son came as both Clarence House and Buckingham Palace opened up their yearly financial accounts.
How pandemic helped cost of travel plunge
The cost of royal travel to the taxpayer plummeted over the past year as, along with the rest of us, the family’s wings were clipped.
Spending on official trips fell from to £5.3million to £3.2million, a reduction of almost 40 per cent. The most expensive single trip was a £58,993 overnight visit by the Prince of Wales who flew by private jet to pay the nation’s condolences following the death of the Emir of Kuwait last October.
Second was the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s £47,965 Christmas UK tour on the Royal Train to thank frontline staff and those who had gone above and beyond for their communities during the pandemic.
Charles and Camilla’s official visit to Germany amounted to £42,486, while the Queen ran up a bill of £32,791 flying to and from Balmoral, her Scottish home, by private jet last summer.
Royal aides point out that foreign tours are conducted at the request of the British Government, which sees the Royal Family as an important tool in its use of ‘soft diplomacy’.
Officials warned yesterday that, while the bill would rise again when travel restrictions eased, there would be more of an emphasis on having a ‘blend’ of in-person and virtual engagements in the future.
One senior royal aide said building relationships in person still very much mattered, but, in terms of both costs and the environment, it made sense to adapt to a more digital way of working where possible.
Clarence House’s annual review revealed that Charles’s bill for the activities of both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – plus other expenditure including the prince’s capital expenditure and transfer to reserves in 2020/2021 – was £4.4million.
This was a fall of £1.15million – around 21 per cent – from £5.6million in 2019/2020 – the last year the Sussexes were working royals.
The report provided no detailed breakdown of the figures and royal aides declined to elucidate further.
But what is clear from the independently audited accounts is that Harry and Meghan were still listed as receiving money from Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall income, despite quitting the monarchy at the end of March last year.
A senior Clarence House spokesman said: ‘As we’ll all remember, in January 2020 when the duke and duchess announced that they were going to move away from the working Royal Family, the duke said that they would work towards becoming financially independent.
‘The Prince of Wales allocated a substantial sum to support them with this transition. That funding ceased in the summer of last year. The couple are now financially independent.’
The spokesman added: ‘I betray no confidence when I say they’ve been very successful in becoming financially independent.’
And when quizzed on the discrepancy in Harry’s remarks, the spokesman said: ‘I wouldn’t acknowledge that they are dramatically different. All I can tell you are the facts.’
Harry and Meghan have signed multi-million-pound deals with Netflix and Spotify, with the duke telling Miss Winfrey he secured these to pay for his family’s ‘security’.
Yet he claimed that when the couple moved to North America, he only had what Princess Diana had left him – £7million at the time.
The couple emigrated first to Canada and then to California, where – despite their apparent penury – they bought an £11million family home in Montecito.
They have also set up their own film and audio company, as well as their Archewell Foundation.
Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in a show which came out in March
Journalist Omid Scobie (pictured) said: ‘Despite some confusing reports, Prince Charles and Prince Harry’s timelines for the period the Sussexes’ financial support ended are the same’
Buckingham Palace also confirmed yesterday that the probe into allegations of bullying against Meghan was still being investigated. Meghan denies the claims.
The Palace stressed that no money from the public purse was being used to finance the review but refused to confirm where that money was coming from.
The Clarence House accounts also showed that Charles’s annual income from the Duchy of Cornwall profits fell this year to £20.4million – a drop of £1.8million or 8 per cent – as a result of the pandemic.
The prince also voluntarily paid more tax, an increase of 3 per cent from £4.86million to £5.02million.