California Governor Gavin Newsom Defends Meghan Markle and Prince Harry amid 'Delinquent' Controversy

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Archewell Foundation is no longer listed as "delinquent" after what California Gov

Published Time: 15.05.2024 - 19:31:05 Modified Time: 15.05.2024 - 19:31:05

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Archewell Foundation is no longer listed as "delinquent" after what California Gov. Gavin Newsom said was a "technical paperwork issue" that was "wildly overhyped."

On May 14, the governor addressed the situation, which arose following widespread coverage of the California Attorney General's office issuing a letter on May 3 regarding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Archewell Foundation being labeled "delinquent" by the California Registry of Charities and Fundraisers. However, both a spokesperson for the Archewell Foundation and the Attorney General's office have since confirmed to PEOPLE that the foundation remains in "good standing."

"I'm here at a behavioral health site, a mental health site. Archewell Foundation, run by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, do extraordinary work, particularly for women and girls, but notably, around mental health," Newsom, 56, said at a press conference on Wednesday during his visit to a behavioral health treatment center in San Mateo County. A clip of the governor's comments was also shared to X by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's friend, celebrated photographer Misan Harriman, who recently covered the couple's three-day trip to Nigeria.

"And I just want folks to know, not only are they in compliance, it was a technical paperwork issue that was wildly overhyped, and with respect, I hope people that ran those headlines run this headline, that it was a very typical, technical issue around paperwork that persists for so many others as well," Newsom continued. 

"And they're in full compliance and they're a celebrated organization that does great work in the state of California. So I wanted to clarify that, because that's important, and I just thought there was a little bit of a piling on that was deeply unfair," he said.

Newsom spoke at the behavioral health treatment center to announce the acceleration of funding to transform the statewide behavioral health system, with $3.3 billion made available, a statement from his office said.

His comments come one day after Prince Harry and Meghan's charitable Archewell Foundation responded to reports that it had been declared "delinquent."

In a statement shared with PEOPLE on Tuesday, May 14, a spokesperson for the foundation said, “We have diligently investigated the situation and can confirm that The Archewell Foundation remains fully compliant and in good standing. Due payments were made promptly and in accordance with the IRS’s processes and procedures. Furthermore, all necessary paperwork had been filed by the Foundation without error or wrongdoing."

The California Attorney General's Office confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE -

, “After being in touch with our Registry of Charities and Fundraisers, the organization is current and in good standing.”

On May 14, a source close to the charity told PEOPLE that the organization had met the state's requirements when filing taxes, which were reported in December. Any payments owed were sent via tracked mail to the Attorney General's Office and received on time, and any claims suggesting otherwise are inaccurate.

A source said that although the paperwork was filed on time, the check sent was never received. The organization wasn't aware until it was issued a delinquency notice from the Attorney General of California Rob Bonta.

The notice, obtained by PEOPLE, stated that the Archewell Foundation was "listed as delinquent with the Registry of Charities and Fundraisers for failing to submit required annual report(s) and/or renewal fees."

The Archewell Foundation is the non-profit established by Prince Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, following their step back from their royal roles and relocated to her home state of California in 2020. The letter from the Attorney General listed the organization as registered with a Beverly Hills address, which is about two hours from the couple's home in Montecito.

"Our mission is simple: show up, do good. We meet the moment by showing up, taking action and using our unparalleled spotlight to uplift and unite communities — local and global — through acts of service and compassion," says the Archewell Foundation website.

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Harry and Meghan recently returned from an official international visit to Nigeria, where the Archewell Foundation announced two new initiatives.

At the Lightway Academy in Abuja, on May 10, it was announced that Archewell is expanding its partnership with the GEANCO Foundation to include mental health resources and training for young people. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex both spoke at the inaugural mental health summit the partnership made possible.

While spending time with Giants of Africa at Ilupeju Senior Grammar School in Lagos on May 12, it was announced that the Archewell Foundation has made it possible for the youth-focused sports charity to expand programming to include a new adaptive court and accessible sport in Abuja.

Exclusively speaking with PEOPLE on the tour, the Duke of Sussex says, "These trips are about us being able to go out and go and focus on the things that mean so much to us. And being able to be on the ground, to us, is what it’s all about."

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