Royal News

Duke of York’s charity investigated over payments to former private secretary

The Duke of York is facing further controversy after it was revealed his former private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, was paid £355,297 for her work as trustee of the Prince Andrew Charitable Trust (PACT). Thirsk was the long serving private secretary of The Duke and resigned last year following his disastrous interview on BBC Newsnight.

Amanda Thirsk was a trustee for PACT as well as director of its profit-making subsidies including the successful Pitch@Palace – a scheme that matched entrepreneurs with various investors.

According to the Financial Times, Thirsk was paid the £355,297 over a five-year period and there has been no suggestion of wrongdoing on her part.

Jolyon Maugham, a barrister, told the Sunday Times, “Most charities are supersensitive to the need to comply with the strict laws around trustee benefit. It is unfathomable to me that a grown-up charity like Prince Andrew’s Charitable Trust got this so wrong.”

In a statement from PACT’s trustees they commented, “In correspondence initiated by the current trustees, the Charity Commission raised a concern about the remuneration paid to Amanda Thirsk, which the Commission considered to be an unauthorised Trustee benefit. Having considered the matter in light of the Commission’s concern, the trustees concluded that the best interests of the Trust would be served by securing full reimbursement, which was agreed to and paid by HRH The Duke of York’s office.”

A spokesperson for the Charity Commission commented, “We continue to engage with the trustees of Prince Andrew Charitable Trust about a number of regulatory issues and will report further in due course.”

The controversy surrounding PACT comes just months after Prince Andrew stepped down from royal duties after the dramatic fallout from his alleged friendship with sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

Also, last week it was reported that The Duke of York and his ex wife, Sarah Ferguson, are engaging in a legal dispute of a £6 million debt for their £18 million ski chalet in Verbier, Switzerland.

Photo: Wikimedia

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