The Duke of York has suffered further embarrassment after his charity was questioned by the Charity Commission for making payments of £350,000 to his former private secretary.
According to the Financial Times, the Commission, which is the regulator of non-profit organisations in England and Wales, has intervened over payments made to Amanda Thirsk, lately Prince Andrew’s private secretary.
The payments have been categorised by the regulator as an ‘unauthorised trustee benefit.’
Ms Thirsk, who resigned as Andrew’s Private Secretary shortly after his disastrous Newsnight interview, was a trustee of the the Duke’s umbrella organisation, the Prince Andrew Charitable Trust.
She was also director of profitmaking subsidiaries, including Pitch@Palace.
According to the Prince Andrew Charitable Trust’s annual report, the Charity Commission “raised a concern about remuneration paid to one of the Trustees.”
It added that the Commission deemed this to be”an unauthorised Trustee benefit” totalling £355,297 over five years.
Charity trustees are not permitted be paid just for being a trustee. They may, however, receive payment for carrying out building work, providing a specialist service, providing premises or for any administerial and secretarial work.
The Duke of York’s trust has since repaid the money and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Ms Thirsk.
Both she and Buckingham Palace have not commented on the situation.
A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “We continue to engage with the trustees of the Prince Andrew Charitable Trust about a number of regulatory issues and will report further in due course.”