Prince Charles
Prince CharlesYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Britain’s Prince Charles accepted a £1 million payment from the family of former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, The Sunday Times revealed.

According to the report, Prince Charles secured the money from Bakr bin Laden, the patriarch of the wealthy Saudi family, and his brother Shafiq. Both men are half-brothers of Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al-Qaeda who masterminded the September 11 attacks.

Charles, 73, had a meeting with Bakr, 76, at Clarence House in London on October 30, 2013, two years after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan, according to The Times.

The future king agreed to the money despite the initial objections of advisers at Clarence House and the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund (PWCF), where the offering was donated.

According to sources, several of Charles’s advisers, including at least one trustee, pleaded with him in person to return the money.

One of his household staff said it would cause national outrage if the news leaked to the media. They told the prince that “it would not be good for anybody” if it emerged that he had accepted money from the family of the perpetrator of the worst terrorist attack in history.

A second adviser also urged the prince to return the money. They told the prince he would suffer serious reputational damage if his name appeared in the same sentence as the terrorist, who was responsible for the murder of 67 Britons alongside thousands of Americans on 9/11.

However, according to The Times, Charles was said to have felt it would be too embarrassing to hand the money back to the brothers and feared that they would suspect the reason. It is understood that one household staff member believes they were “very vociferous” with the prince but were “shouted down”. Another adviser to Charles is said to have implored the prince to return the money. Their words caused “great” concern in the palace, but were apparently ignored.

In response to inquiries, Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of PWCF, said the donation was agreed “wholly” by the five trustees at the time.

Asked when approval was given, a charity source said this took place after the funds were deposited in the PWCF’s bank account at Coutts, where they were allegedly placed on hold pending a later discussion. The source claimed this was consistent with Charity Commission rules. They would not say what these were.

A Clarence House source insisted that Charles’s aides were not dismayed by the bin Laden donation, that nobody was “shouted down” and that the decisions about whether or not to accept money fell within the remit of trustees.

The bin Laden family’s relationship with the prince’s charities has never previously been disclosed, and does not appear in public documents. Charities are not required to disclose their supporters, noted The Times.

The disclosures come a month after the newspaper revealed that Charles accepted a suitcase containing €1 million in cash from Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, also known as HBJ, the former prime minister of Qatar.

Cheshire said: “The donation from Sheik Bakr bin Laden in 2013 was carefully considered by PWCF Trustees at the time. Due diligence was conducted, with information sought from a wide range of sources, including government. The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the Trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate.”

A Clarence House spokeswoman said: “The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation. The decision to accept was taken by the charity’s Trustees alone and any attempt to characterize it otherwise is false.”