FLINT logo
Families Link International
Tel:0781 886 1724

home | issues | policies | family groups | courts | court reporters | research | law | contacts | donations | Useful Quotes |

Issues - divorce - Di takes Charles to the cleaners

Diana 'took Charles to cleaners' in divorce, says his banker
By Chris Logan and Andrew Alderson (Filed: 25/07/2004)

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 to divorce.

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".


The contents on these pages are provided as information only. No responsibility or liability is accepted by or on behalf of FLINT for any errors, omissions, or misleading statements on these pages, or any site to which these pages connect, whether provided by FLINT or by any organisation, company or individual. No mention of any organisation, company or individual, whether on these pages or on other sites to which these pages are linked, shall imply any approval or warranty as to the standing and capability of any such organisations, companies or individuals on the part of FLINT. All rights reserved.