The Charity Commission is conducting a review of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s philanthropic organization, according to the Telegraph.
Well-placed sources have told The Telegraph the watchdog is examining how Sussex Royal was run and whether it complied with charity law.
The “regulatory and compliance case” is understood to be looking at concerns about the charity before the royal couple decided to shut it down last July following their move to America.
A Charity Commission spokesman said: “Our regulatory compliance case is ongoing. We cannot comment further.”
It came as the latest teaser clip was released from the couple’s Oprah Winfrey interview, which is set to air in the US on Sunday night and on Monday in the UK.
In it, the Duchess said it felt “liberating” to be able to speak and accused the Royal Family of effectively gagging her and taking away that choice.
She claimed that when Winfrey had first approached her ahead of her wedding, they had not even been allowed to have the conversation without Kensington Palace aides listening in.
Meghan, 39, suggested that now the couple had stepped away from “the construct” of royal life they were free to make their own decisions and said: “It’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes, I’m ready to talk, to be able to make a choice on your own and to be able to speak for yourself,” she said.
Tensions with the Royal Family have escalated in recent days, amid allegations that claims the Duchess bullied her staff was part of an orchestrated smear campaign by palace aides.
The Telegraph understands that members of the family have been in contact with Prince Harry this week to find out what is disclosed in the no-holds-barred chat. Buckingham Palace has not been given an advanced copy of the interview.
The Duchess is thought to confirm rumors of a rift with her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, by suggesting she was among those who failed to support her as a newcomer to the Royal fold.
“There is going to be a lot of discussion about how Meghan felt unsupported – including by Kate,” a US TV insider revealed.
It is understood that the Charity Commission had not yet determined whether or not there was any wrongdoing at Sussex Royal.
A “regulatory compliance case” falls short of a formal investigation. If the regulator finds wrongdoing, it can then issue formal regulatory advice or use power such as an official warning.
The charity was founded after the couple decided to break away from The Royal Foundation, the charity they previously ran with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The Charity Commission first looked at The Royal Foundation and Sussex Royal in July after Republic, the anti-monarchy campaign group, asked it to examine nearly £300,000 of grants, including £145,000 given to the Sussexes’ former UK charity.
At the time, the Commission said it was assessing information in the complaint to determine whether it was appropriate to investigate.
According to well-placed sources, it examined whether it was appropriate for the Royal Foundation to have transferred the money to Sussex Royal in the first place.
The watchdog is understood to have deemed it appropriate. It is understood that some of the trustees of the Royal Foundation have expressed “disappointment” that the money given to Sussex Royal was effectively wasted on a Foundation that was dissolved shortly afterward.
A source said it was “very frustrating” and looked from the outside like “rash” decision-making by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, adding: “They might have thought about that before setting it up, but using charitable money to set up a foundation is completely legitimate and it happens all the time. The issue was setting it up and closing it down months later.”
In addition to the £145,000 grant to Sussex Royal, The Royal Foundation made grants totaling £151,856 “for the continued development of the Duke of Sussex’s Sustainable Tourism program, Travalyst”.
It is understood that some money from the Royal Foundation was also earmarked for the community kitchen set up for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.
It is unclear if the Royal Foundation is also being reviewed by the Commission.
Lawyers for the Sussexes said: “Sussex Royal was managed by a board of trustees which made decisions about the charity in accordance with its constitutional document and the requirements of charity law.
“Therefore, any suggestion of mismanagement or decision making being handled in a ‘rash’ fashion solely by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be entirely false.”