King Charles III’s aides feared donations from Anthony Pratt might “bring down the monarchy,” the Australian billionaire was secretly recorded saying.
The businessman is a founding patron and benefactor to the king’s Prince’s Trust charity in Australia and was taped making off the cuff remarks in mid-2022.
He said he was asked by an aide to stop making donations directly to Charles, instead channeling any money into charities in audio that emerged after a joint investigation by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and Australia’s 60 Minutes.
There is no suggestion either broke any laws or rules, however, there is much in the leaked tapes that would be embarrassing to Charles, not least of all Pratt’s suggestion the king was at the time a “laughing stock.”
Perhaps most concerning of all, though, will be the businessman’s belief—whether accurate or not—that he was accumulating political capital and influence.
“They’re just so close to becoming the king that he doesn’t want me to bring down the monarchy,” Pratt said on the leaked tape.
“Well, he just doesn’t want the appearance of anything. It’s [the donations] legal, but he doesn’t want to look like he’s … because he just got into trouble for giving someone a knighthood in exchange for money.”
The references appears to be to the “cash for honors” scandal which was investigated by U.K. police, though the case was closed with no charges brought.
A Buckingham Palace statement released to Newsweek read: “Mr. Pratt and his charitable foundation have been supporting the former Prince of Wales’ charities for many years and, as is well-documented, he is the Founding Patron of Prince’s Trust Australia.
“It is also a matter of record that Mr. Pratt is one of Australia’s foremost philanthropists, who has donated to a wide variety of charitable organizations.
“Any donations from Mr. Pratt were therefore to support the work of the former Prince of Wales’ charitable organizations.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever get a knighthood,” Pratt said in the secret tapes. “I don’t really want one to be honest because it’s like everyone’s got one.”
“What I’m trying to do is to network with people that can be useful,” he added, in audio recording broadcast by 60 Minutes Australia on October 22.
“When he [Charles] introduced me to Camila… ‘he’s been very useful’… and I thought ‘well, that’s an insult’ but then I thought ‘oh no, it’s better than being irrelevant.’
“My superpower is that I’m rich. So I’m useful to him, right? I see him as an undervalued political stock cos he’s about to be king. It is just that he’s a laughing stock now but when he’s king they won’t be laughing.”-Newsweek