Prince Charles’ Top Aide Resigned Over a 'Cash for Honorary Titles' Scandal

An investigation is under way into how wealthy donors tried to pay for access to the royals.

Prince Charles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This week, the Daily Mail reported that Michael Fawcett, Prince Charles’s confidant and chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation charity, resigned over a “cash for honorary titles” scandal that is rocking the royal charity.

Fawcett has been a friend of Prince Charles since the 1980s, going from junior footman at Buckingham Palace to Prince-appointed Member of the Victorian Order over the course of several decades. Though Fawcett exited his roles with the family twice over the years—once over reported bullying behavior toward other royal staffers and another time over a scandal in the early 2000s in which Fawcett allegedly sold unwanted royal gifts (though an inquiry cleared him of misconduct). But he often came back to work and even received promotions, according to the publication. However, this latest scandal seems likely to permanently sever ties between the Prince and Fawcett, who the Mail says “Charles famously could not live without.”

The cash for honorary titles scandal is at the heart of an inquiry by the Prince’s Foundation charity, and involves allegations that Fawcett used his influence and position in the charity to help a Saudi businessman secure an honorary title as well as British citizenship in exchange for donations, according to CNN. Charles has formally denied any knowledge of the scheme and a spokesperson for Clarence House told CNN that he would support the investigation fully.

prince charles

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This week, the Daily Mail reported that Michael Fawcett, Prince Charles’s confidant and chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation charity, resigned over a “cash for honorary titles” scandal that is rocking the royal charity.

Fawcett has been a friend of Prince Charles since the 1980s, going from junior footman at Buckingham Palace to Prince-appointed Member of the Victorian Order over the course of several decades. Though Fawcett exited his roles with the family twice over the years—once over reported bullying behavior toward other royal staffers and another time over a scandal in the early 2000s in which Fawcett allegedly sold unwanted royal gifts (though an inquiry cleared him of misconduct). But he often came back to work and even received promotions, according to the publication. However, this latest scandal seems likely to permanently sever ties between the Prince and Fawcett, who the Mail says “Charles famously could not live without.”

The cash for honorary titles scandal is at the heart of an inquiry by the Prince’s Foundation charity, and involves allegations that Fawcett used his influence and position in the charity to help a Saudi businessman secure an honorary title as well as British citizenship in exchange for donations, according to CNN. Charles has formally denied any knowledge of the scheme and a spokesperson for Clarence House told CNN that he would support the investigation fully.

princess diana

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Prince’s Foundation is investigating the matter, which it said was being taken very seriously. Another source, speaking anonymously to the Daily Mail, said of Fawcett's resignation, “Michael will have no more dealings with either His Royal Highness or Clarence House from now on. That is absolutely clear. He’s not coming back in any way, shape or form, that cannot be stressed enough. The report hasn’t been finished yet. It is his decision and his decision alone, and he is not pre-empting anything that may or may not be found.”

What this may mean for Prince Charles is unclear, but some sources who spoke to the publication reported that getting rid of Fawcett’s “pernicious” influence would give Charles a “clean sheet” when he does become King.

We’ll update if more information becomes available.