Royals give seed fund to wounded warriors helping medical science

Hannah Furness
The young members of the Royal Family have quietly funded a modern day version of the famous Guinea Pig Club, continuing their legacy to “a new generation of wounded warriors” from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars - WireImage

The young members of the Royal Family have quietly funded a modern day version of the famous Guinea Pig Club, continuing their legacy to “a new generation of wounded warriors” from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

The Royal Foundation, the charity of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex, gave a £15,000 seed fund for the launch of a new club for seriously injured members of the Armed Forces which now has 130 members.

While the CASEVAC Club has been running under the radar for more than a year, its royal links can now be fully reported after they were included in the charity’s annual financial review.

“The CASEVAC Club is inspired by The Guinea Pig Club, a social club that began in 1941 as a support network for British aircrew and allies that had been severely injured in World War 2,” the report states.

“The members had all undergone experimental reconstructive plastic surgery after receiving life-changing burns and other injuries, which gave the club its name.

“The men and women in The CASEVAC Club will follow in their forebears example by maintaining a close-knit community through a lifetime of cohesion, during which they will assist in the advancement of medical science and help others experiencing traumatic injury.”

The club is receiving ongoing operational support from the Royal Foundation, with its report quoting the Duke of Sussex as saying: “Today's CASEVAC Club will help us to once again recognise the success and most importantly, the pertinence of the Guinea Pig Club – far beyond the lives of its original members – and continue to build on a vital legacy that continues to benefit many generations to come.”

Financial aid assigned under the category “those who serve”, previously known as the “military”, grew by 15 per cent to £1.3m this year, the report said.

The annual financial review, the first complete version since the Duchess of Sussex joined the Foundation, also details the money spent and earned on the Grenfell Together cookbook and the Al Manaar kitchen.

The royal charity spent £204,031 on refurbishing the kitchen on Al Manaar, the Muslim Cultural Heritage Trust, and a further £28,520 on training and development schemes.

Sales of the Together cookbook, which now total 130,000 copies worldwide, have made £557,638 - held by the Royal Foundation to reinvest - with the women who worked on it gaining 23 qualifications.

This year’s income also includes £145,168 for “the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s engagement gift fund”, understood to have come via one or several American donors ahead of the couple’s chosen wedding charities being announced.

The report also confirmed imminent changes to the shared charity, after the Cambridges and Sussexes went their separate ways into two households.

“In light of recent changes in the lives of Their Royal Highnesses, including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex setting up their own household, a review is currently underway to assess the implications these changes may have for the Royal Foundation,” it said.

“It is likely there will be changes to the current structure of the Royal Foundation.”