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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March, 2003, 13:43 GMT
Q and A: Peat inquiry
BBC royal correspondent June Kelly looks at some of the answers delivered by a report into the running of the Prince of Wales's household.

Why was the Peat inquiry held?

The inquiry was set up after the collapse of the Paul Burrell trial, to look the allegations of misconduct within the royal household.

Sir Michael Peat said he would look at four questions: Did the prince's household try to stop the Burrell trial?; Was there any cover up following an allegation of homosexual rape against one of the Prince of Wales staff?; Were any official gifts sold?; Did staff take any money or presents from suppliers?

Why has Michael Fawcett resigned?

Although Michael Fawcett was cleared of any financial impropriety, he had accepted numerous gifts, such as a 2,500 watch and 3,000 club membership.

In doing so, he broke the Palace's internal rules. He will still work freelance for the palace, carrying out some event management and being given "some financial help" to find a new house.

What will his resignation mean to the Prince of Wales?

Mr Fawcett was a trusted aide to the Prince, having worked for him for more than 20 years. He became famous as the man who squeezed the toothpaste onto his master's toothbrush.

He started as the prince's valet and rose to become his personal consultant. He was the prince's most trusted servant, but his abrasive manner made him unpopular with other staff.

Did the inquiry find that there had been an improper cover-up of a male rape allegation in 1996?

The inquiry found that there was no cover-up, but it had serious criticism for the way the allegations of homosexual rape were handled.

It found that a proper investigation was not conducted, and from the moment George Smith made his complaints, there was a feeling that he had to go.

The Peat inquiry found that the Prince of Wales's staff put more effort put into arranging a pay-off of more than 30,000.

Was anyone in the household found to have wrongly tried to halt the Paul Burrell trial?

No, but it was revealed that Paul Burrell had written a letter to Prince William 18 months before the collapse of the trial, in which he said explained that he was safeguarding some of Diana's possessions.

St. James's Palace say the police were made aware of this.

The letter was not replied to. This raises questions because it was when the Queen disclosed similar information that the trial was stopped.

Were official gifts found to have been sold?

Yes, in some cases gifts were sold, but the inquiry also found that there were no guidelines or procedures as to what should happen to unwanted gifts.

Gifts and discounts were also given to staff by suppliers and this is where procedures have not been rigorous and need to be tightened up.

Sir Michael Peat has been in his job as private secretary to the Prince of Wales since last summer, and he was critical of lax standards under his predecessors.


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