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Last Updated:  Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 16:16 GMT
At a glance: Royal report
Prince Charles
The internal inquiry said procedures regarding gifts were "deficient"
The long-awaited report into sales of gifts and other alleged misconduct within Prince Charles's household has been published.

Here are the main findings of the inquiry headed by the prince's private secretary Sir Michael Peat, aided by Edmund Lawson QC.

  • Prince Charles' valet Michael Fawcett was cleared of any financial impropriety over accepting improper payments.

  • He resigned with immediate effect but his firm will work for the prince on a freelance basis organising events.

  • He was found to have infringed rules on accepting gifts from suppliers including 3,000 membership of a club and the private gift of a 2,500 Rolex watch.

  • But he made no secret of the gifts, and no attempts were made to stop him, so could not be found guilty of financial impropriety.

    No trial interference

  • Many rumours about Fawcett had in fact been generated by colleagues resentful of his speedy rise to power and abrasive personality.

  • Press suspicion was "understandably aroused" due to his involvement in the sale of gifts, said the report. But "unknown to the media, (these) were all authorised by the Prince of Wales".

  • Neither Prince Charles' nor the Queen's household interfered to get the trial of Paul Burrell stopped.

  • Prince William was told of former royal butler Paul Burrell's claim he was safeguarding possessions of Diana, Princess of Wales in a letter sent 18 months before the collapse of the trial.

  • The letter dated April 2001 was never replied to, according to Barrister Edmund Lawson QC who conducted the inquiry into trial.

  • The Queen's disclosure of her conversation with Mr Burrell was "properly made" and not the result of any "improper motive".

    Rape claim criticised

  • The palace's handling of allegation of male rape made by former valet George Smith was seriously criticised.

  • There was no cover-up of Mr Smith's claim - later dropped - but the palace did not conduct a proper investigation, the report found.

    Although the claim was thought to be "baseless" by both the palace and Hounslow Police, the report authors said "a serious allegation of this sort should not ... have been treated so dismissively".

    This lack of seriousness was due to the "mind-set" of those involved in the Royal household, the report adds.

    Having made what they believed to be a false allegation, the difficulty of working with the person he had named and with his additional "health problems" it was felt that "George had to go".

    The settlement given to Mr Smith was very generous but not "to the extent that we are driven to conclude that it derived from an improper motive (that is, to suppress the truth)".

  • Fiona Shackleton, Charles' lawyer, reportedly said "I had instructions from my boss [Prince Charles] to make the whole business go away".

    Gift issues

  • There was a lack of records at St James's Palace about receipt and disposal of gifts.

  • This made it difficult to assess which gifts were sold, given away or exchanged.
  • Many gifts were passed on to staff, especially lower value gifts such as pens, watches and champagne won at polo matches.

  • The report found one official gift had been sold, two exchanged and a number of other smaller value items were given to staff.
  • There was no evidence of staff selling gifts or other items without authorisation, or receiving commission on sales.

  • But many staff had been unaware of the definition of an "official" rather than private gift, which should not be sold on.

  • Staff did accept gifts from Royal Warrant holders despite a ban on it. This practice was "not unusual" in a number of organisations, but there was a lack of policies governing such actions in the Prince's household.

    Administrative procedures are now being enhanced in these areas.

  • A ban on gifts was not enforced and the practice of accepting presents and entertainment was with the "knowledge and implicit approval of senior management".

  • New policies and guidelines for official gifts have been agreed by the Queen's and the Prince's households.




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