Royal charity chair resigns amid ‘cash for access’ storm

The chair of Prince Charles’ charitable trust, the Prince’s Foundation, has quit amid an investigation into allegations that donations have been used to influence the heir to the throne.

Douglas Connell has stepped down as chair of the Foundation after the Scottish Charity Regulator confirmed it is to launch an investigation into the allegations.

He is replaced by vice chair Dame Sue Bruce with immediate effect.

A spokesperson for the Prince’s Foundation said: “The Prince’s Foundation understands and respects Mr. Connell’s decision to step down. We would like to thank him for all his work to date and wish him well.

“The Prince's Foundation takes very seriously the allegations made in recent news articles and is committed to the highest ethical standards. These changes to the board of Trustees will not impact the scope or timing of the rigorous independent investigation already underway."

The OSCR investigation follows an article in the Sunday Times earlier this month that alleges donations have been used to gain influence.

“We have been working with the Prince’s Foundation to better understand the use of the organisation’s funds, and to gain a full understanding of the work which is being undertaken by the charity’s trustees to investigate the range of issues which have been raised,” said a statement from the OSCR.

“We have written to the trustees informing them that we will investigate these matters under the powers set out in section 28 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 and will follow up any additional queries as they arise.

The regulator adds: “It is the responsibility of all charity trustees, the people who manage and control a charity, to act at all times in the interests of the charity and comply with their legal duties in doing so.

“In particular, they must ensure that all funds are spent in achieving the charity’s purposes and ensure that grants or donations are used in line with any conditions imposed.

“We will consider what, if any, further action is appropriate for us to take when we have been able to fully consider information provided to us by the charity.”

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