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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 09:30 GMT
Former secretary accuses Prince
Elaine Day
Elaine Day claims unfair dismissal against the Prince of Wales' Office
The Prince of Wales's household has been accused of being "hierarchical and elitist" by a former PA.

Elaine Day, 45, made the claim at an employment tribunal where she is claiming sex discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Ms Day, of Belvedere, south-east London, said she was described by the prince in a memo as "so PC it frightens me rigid".

Clarence House has said it will "vigorously" contest the case.

The memo was written by the prince in response to a suggestion by Ms Day that personal assistants with university degrees should be given the opportunity to train to become private secretaries, the hearing in Croydon was told.

People think they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having natural ability
Memo from Prince Charles
She said she had been "subjected to constant acts of discrimination, victimisation, harassment and undermining behaviour" which she claims started when she made the recommendation to the prince's assistant private secretary Paul Kefford.

In the memo, the prince wrote: "What is wrong with everyone nowadays?

"Why do they all seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities?

"People think they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having natural ability."

Sexually harassed

The memo concludes: "What on earth am I to tell Elaine? She is so PC it frightens me rigid."

Ruth Downing, counsel for Ms Day, asked her what she understood the memo to mean.

Paul Kefford
Paul Kefford is accused of sexual harassment

"I completely felt that people could not rise above their station," she replied.

Ms Day also claims she was one of three female members of staff who had been sexually harassed by Mr Kefford.

She said he would approach her from behind and rub her back and touch her shoulder which she said made her feel "very uncomfortable".

Ms Day claimed that after she made a complaint about his behaviour in October 2002 she received "unjustified criticism".

She added: "I was aware of a culture in the household, which stemmed from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, that the respondent [the prince's household] would not welcome employees which it perceived rocked the boat.

"This was made abundantly clear to me."

The hearing in Croydon, south London, continues.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
More details about Elaine Day's claims



SEE ALSO:
Prince out of date, says Clarke
18 Nov 04 |  Politics


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