Prince Charles and his charity have been caught up in a royally big scandal over an alleged art hoax involving paintings supposedly worth $136 million. The Claude Monet, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso paintings were loaned to Dumfries House, the headquarters of the Prince's Foundation, by businessman James Stunt, but they are now believed to be forgeries, reports Bloomberg. Notorious American art forger Tony Tetro, who served time in prison for faking masterpieces in the '70s and '80s, claims to have created the works, including a Monet painting of water lilies valued at $50 million, the Times of London reports.
Stunt, the former husband of Formula One heiress Petra Ecclestone, loaned the paintings to the prince's charity for 10 years. Vanity Fair notes that spending time in a property connected to the British royals would likely raise the auction value of any artwork. Tetro, who is considered one of the greatest forgers alive, says he decided to speak out after he learned about the loan contracts between Stunt and the prince's charity and heard Stunt was considering selling the fake Monet to repay creditors. "It is extremely regrettable that the authenticity of these particular paintings, which are no longer on display, now appears to be in doubt," a spokesperson for the Prince's Foundation says. (Read more Prince Charles stories.)