A cloud hangs over Prince Charles’ name. Newspapers in Britain have been awash with the news that Osama bin Laden’s half brothers- Bakr bin Laden and Shafiq bin Laden- made donations to a charity fund under his name. The brothers- who enjoy close ties with the Saudi royal family- donated a million pounds ($1.2 million) to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund ( in 2013. Advisors recommended against accepting the sum, but the charity’s trustees weren’t to be dissuaded, receiving the donation after “thorough due diligence”.

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It’s not the first time one of Prince Charles’ charities has raised suspicion. Reports emerged last month of the British royal accepting a suitcase carrying a million euros in cash from a former Qatari Prime Minister, Sheikh Jaber Al Thani. The payment was one of three instalments totalling £2.5 million. Since February, London Police have been investigating people associated with another of his charities, The Prince’s Foundation. The charity allegedly offered to help a Saudi national secure honours or British citizenship in exchange for a hefty donation.

In light of the recent revelations, PWCF’s top brass has come to its (and the Prince’s) defence. Chairman Sir Ian Cheshire noted that the donations were a “carefully considered” decision involving all five trustee members.

“The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate,” added Sir Cheshire.

Other sources have sought to clear the air on the Bin Ladens, distancing the brothers from Osama’s notoriety:

“Though the name Bin Laden has very unhappy history, the sins of the father should not be visited on the rest of the family, which is an eminent one in the region,” quotes BBC.

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While the bin Laden name evokes memories of 9/11 in the West, they enjoy pride of place in Saudi society. The Bin Ladens- construction magnates in Jeddah- disowned Osama in 1994. The family utilized their royal contacts to commission mosques, palaces and other buildings. The family traces its origins to Hadhramaut in Yemen, like many other business families in Jeddah.