Issues - divorce - Di takes Charles to the cleaners
The Prince of Wales was "taken to the cleaners"
and handed over his entire personal fortune to Diana, Princess
of Wales, as part of their divorce settlement, his former
personal financial adviser has revealed.
Geoffrey Bignell, who handled Prince Charles's
financial affairs for more than a decade until 1996, disclosed
that the heir to the throne was forced to sell his entire
investment portfolio to meet the demands of the Princess.
Prince Charles: borrowed money from the Queen "Princess
Diana took every penny he had," Mr Bignell told the Telegraph
last week. "I was told to liquidate everything, all his
investments, so that he could give her the cash. He was very
unhappy about that. That's when I stopped being his personal
financial adviser because he had no personal wealth left.
She took him to the cleaners."
As part of the divorce in July 1996, Diana
reportedly received a lump sum of £17.5 million and
an allowance for her private office. The Queen also allowed
her and the Waleses' two sons, Princes William and Harry,
to continue to live in Kensington Palace.
The Waleses' divorce was negotiated through
their respective solicitors. Anthony Julius represented the
Princess and Fiona Shackleton represented Prince Charles.
The Princess, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997,
was encouraged by Mr Julius to give up her title "Her
Royal Highness" - a move she later regretted - in return
for a better financial deal.
Mr Bignell has provided the first detailed
account of the extent of the financial impact of the divorce
on the Prince of Wales. At the time, friends of the Prince
described the Princess's demands as "excessive",
but they came at a time when the Queen was pressing the couple
The Prince, who does not receive money from
the Civil List, has an annual income of nearly £12 million
from his Duchy of Cornwall estate but he is not permitted
to sell off property or use the Duchy's capital. It is understood
that the Queen lent her son several million pounds for the
divorce settlement and that he is still repaying her.
Mr Bignell was interviewed by the Telegraph
last week ahead of the publication of his memoirs, Sundowners
at Dawn: a Banker's Tale - where he makes only a fleeting
reference to his crucial role because, he said, he did not
want to "cash in" on his royal links.
Mr Bignell, 70, began his unpaid work in 1985
after he was recommended to Prince Charles by a mutual polo-playing
friend. The Prince's investments were being handled by Barings,
the investments bank, but he was looking for a change.
Mr Bignell, who lives in Uckfield, East Sussex,
was made a member of the Royal Victorian Order in the Queen's
Birthday Honours in 1995 for "personal services to the
Prince of Wales".