Queen Elizabeth makes public appearance as Prince Charles controversy looms

Queen Elizabeth II performed in Scotland on Monday to kick off Holyrood Week 2022, marking her first public appearance since her platinum jubilee celebrations.

The Queen attended an old ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, where she was joined by her son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

The 96-year-old Sovereign, who repeatedly suffers from mobility problems, used a walker during the performance.

Later in the week, the Queen will be joined by her son Prince Charles for engagements in Scotland.

The Prince of Wales, who recently represented the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda, made headlines over the weekend after an investigation by the Sunday Times revealed that years ago the heir apparent had accepted bags of cash from a Qatari politician and used the funds for his personal charities.

Queen Elizabeth II attends the key ceremony in the forecourt of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 27.
Queen Elizabeth II attends the key ceremony in the forecourt of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 27.

Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images

According to the report, the prince accepted around $3.2 million in cash from Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, who reportedly handed over money in a shopping bag and department store suitcase at meetings between 2011 and 2015.

Prince Charles’ Clarence House issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

“Charity donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were immediately forwarded to one of the Prince’s charities, who carried out the appropriate administration and assured us that all correct processes were followed,” they told CNN in a statement.

While cash exchange may not technically be illegal, anti-monarchy group Republic is calling on MPs, the Prince of Wales and the Charity Commission for England and Wales for more transparency.

‚ÄúThis story is shocking. Prince Charles met Sheikh Hamad privately, with no officials present and no disclosure of the meeting in the court circular,” Republic CEO Graham Smith said in an email statement shared with HuffPost over the weekend.

Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the platinum competition June 5 in London.
Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the platinum competition June 5 in London.

Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images

“Sheikh Hamad faces serious human rights charges and has significant financial and other interests here in the UK,” Smith added. “Given that Prince Charles has direct access to the UK Prime Minister and all government ministers, as well as all Cabinet papers, this raises serious ethical questions about what the Sheikh expects in return.”

The Prince Charles controversy follows a police investigation in London launched last year after the Sunday Times reported that one of Charles’s closest associates, Michael Fawcett, had tried to help a Saudi national, both a knighthood and to gain citizenship after donating $2 million to the Prince Foundation.

“The Prince of Wales was unaware of the alleged offer of honors or British citizenship based on a donation to his charities,” Clarence House said at the time. The former advisor has resigned.