When the Duke of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey that his family had "literally" cut him off financially, sources close to the Prince of Wales could not hide their surprise. The bank statements, they said, told a different story.
It has now emerged that the prince gave the Sussexes a "substantial sum" when they stepped back from their official roles, apparently contradicting the duke's claim that they had only been able to afford their new life in California because of his inheritance from his mother.
It also emerged that the investigation into alleged bullying by the Duchess of Sussex, which is being conducted by an external law firm, is being paid for privately. Buckingham Palace declined to confirm which member of the royal family was footing the bill but said that no taxpayers' money was being spent on the investigation.
Details of the review were expected to be included in the annual report, but it has not yet been completed and aides declined to reveal when its conclusions might be published.
The Clarence House annual review reveals that Prince Charles gave a total of £4.5 million ($8.9m) to the Cambridges and the Sussexes in the last financial year, down from £5.6 million ($11m) the year before.
Clarence House confirmed that it included a "substantial sum" to help the Sussexes after their departure from royal life, payments that ended last summer.
"As we'll all remember, in January 2020 when the duke and duchess announced that they were going to move away from the working royal family, the duke said that they would work towards becoming financially independent," a spokesman said.
"The Prince of Wales... allocated a substantial sum to support them with this transition."
He described the couple's departure from the working royals as "a matter of enormous sadness to the family", but added: "The prince wanted to help make this work.
"I betray no confidence when I say they've been very successful in becoming financially independent."
The revelations come as Buckingham Palace admitted that it was failing in its efforts to improve diversity as it published staffing figures for the first time since the Sussexes' racism allegations.
The Sovereign Grant report, published yesterday, reveals that 8.5 per cent of employees at the palace are from an ethnic minority background. Aides said that they hoped to increase that figure to 10 per cent by the end of next year.
A senior palace source acknowledged that it "must do more" to improve diversity, adding: "We are not where we would like to be despite our efforts."
The aide said that the figures had been published so there could be "no place to hide" and they could be held accountable if no progress was made.
Clarence House revealed that 8 per cent of its staff were from ethnic minority backgrounds, which it also admitted was "not where we need to be."
The figures come months after the Sussexes accused the Royal family of racism, claiming that concerns had been raised about the colour of their unborn son's skin.
About 13 per cent of the British population is from a minority ethnic background.
The report reveals that the palace diversity strategy, agreed in 2017-18, was adapted early last year, shortly after the Sussexes moved abroad, to "actively emphasise the importance of inclusion", although plans to appoint a diversity tsar have been paused.
It also disclosed a significant black hole in palace finances, with annual income supplementing the Sovereign Grant falling from £20.2 million ($39.95m) to £9.4 million ($18.6m). The royal household had previously estimated that £15 million ($29.6m) over three years would be lost in income from the Royal Collection Trust but it fell by £18 million ($35.6m) this year alone.
The reduction was partly offset by £2.4 million ($4.75m) received from the Sussexes to reimburse the public purse for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage.
The lump sum was considered sufficient to also cover the couple's rental costs for the property for 18 months until March 2022, when the annual licence on the property is due to be renewed.
The accounts show the monarchy cost the taxpayer £87.5 million ($173m) during the last financial year, an increase of £18.1 million ($35.8m) on the previous year.
Property maintenance costs rose by £11.2 million ($22.15m) to £49.5 million ($89.98m) as the 10-year project to renovate Buckingham Palace continued.