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Monday, 11 November, 2002, 22:07 GMT
Palace meeting 'not a crisis summit'
St James's Palace
St James's Palace has denied a cover-up
Senior aides to the Royal Family met on Monday after an Italian newspaper named the aide to Prince Charles accused of raping a former servant.

One courtier said the officials were taking the situation very seriously and would also consider whether to establish an inquiry into the collapse of the trial of Paul Burrell.

Mr Burrell told reporters in New York that he had no regrets about selling his story and that his family had been to hell and back following his arrest for theft.

He said: "Telling my story was never about money, it was only ever about truth and justice and telling it honestly and properly."

Mr Burrell spoke after the chairman of a key committee of MPs told the BBC that claims that royal gifts have been sold on for profit are for the taxman and not Parliament to investigate.

'Wholly untrue'

Although the British media have not named the aide accused of raping former valet George Smith, the Prince of Wales is said to be "disappointed and dismayed" by the latest turn of events.


Our client has consistently denied that these offences ever took place

Royal aide's solicitors
The aide says the allegations are "wholly untrue" and neither the man's solicitor nor the Palace have commented on the report in La Repubblica.

Officials dismissed the idea that Monday's meeting was a 'crisis summit' and played down talk about mounting royal panic.

But the scheduled meeting, which was chaired by Charles's private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, at St James's Palace went on an hour longer than usual.

'Media frenzy'

Scotland Yard investigated the rape allegations last year and said this week's revelations will not lead to the case being reopened.

Mr Smith, now 42, waived his right to anonymity by speaking to the Mail on Sunday newspaper about the alleged assault in the late 1980s.

Solicitors for the man accused said: "Our client has consistently denied that these offences ever took place, and whilst he has no desire to enter into the current media frenzy, cannot allow wholly untrue allegations against him to be reported and unchallenged."

In a statement St James's Palace said the allegations were investigated by the Palace in 1996.

"No evidence was forthcoming in support of them and the person concerned did not want to pursue the matter any further," it said.

Locked box

In the Mail on Sunday, Mr Smith said he told Princess Diana in 1996 about the alleged rape and that she had recorded his accusation.

Mail on Sunday
Mr Smith has waived his right to anonymity
During Mr Burrell's trial for theft it emerged that the princess had kept a cassette tape with details of a case of alleged male rape of one of Prince Charles' members of staff.

But the tape went missing from a locked box in Kensington Palace and has never been found, the trial heard.

As well as the rape allegation, Mr Smith claimed he had witnessed an "incident" involving a member of the royal family and a palace servant.

Male rape

Mr Smith's interview followed confirmation from Buckingham Palace that a new allegation of male rape, unconnected to his, within the royal household was investigated last year.

A junior member of the Buckingham Palace staff complained to the police about an attack by a fellow worker.

But he later decided not to proceed with the complaint, the palace said.


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11 Nov 02 | Politics
10 Nov 02 | UK
10 Nov 02 | UK
11 Nov 02 | Wales
11 Nov 02 | UK
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