Scotland Yard is weighing complaints that Prince Charles’ closest aide, former valet Michael Fawcett, offered his help in securing the knight title and British citizenship to a Saudi billionaire who donated $ 1, $ 5 million to royal charities.
Clarence House bracing for further charges and Charles having said he was surprised, shocked and previously ignored the leak of a letter apparently showing Fawcett, 58, pledging to support the claims on behalf of Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, police have been asked to review the claims. a possible violation of the 1925 law on honor (prevention of abuse).
At least two complaints, lodged by former Liberal Democrat Home Secretary Norman Baker and the Republic campaign group, have been lodged with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick. Baker said he had been informed by his office that the force was evaluating the information provided.
Fawcett was staying away from the controversy at his home in Hampton, near Richmond upon Thames, after temporarily resigning as chief executive of The Princes Foundation charity while an internal investigation, hosted by Charles, is conducted.
But allegations of money for honors, in the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Times, have cast an uncomfortable spotlight on the extraordinary relationship between the prince and the former footman who, in more than 40 years, has fallen apart. inexorably raised to become de facto charity leader Charless Empire.
Various described as indispensable, Charless Minence Gray, his rock to Dianas’ Butler Paul Burrell himself, to quote the ruthless royal biographer Tom Bower, his Rasputin Fawcett was seemingly indestructible.
Charles allowed Fawcett to outflank everyone at court, despite the Queen’s disapproval of her immense influence and cringe every time Fawcett’s name is mentioned, according to Bower.
Twice, Fawcett stepped down following previous controversies, but still bounced back stronger than ever. As the organizer of princely events, he is also in charge of Dumfries House, the 18th century Palladian mansion in Ayrshire saved for the nation by Charles, and head of the Princes Foundation, which is based there.
This time, however, his detractors wonder if Charles, who said I could get by without just about anyone except Michael, could be persuaded that such unwelcome publicity is no longer worth it. worth it.
Joining Buckingham Palace as a footman straight out of a catering school, Fawcetts has become a personal valet, personal assistant, personal consultant and now head of the Princes Foundation, is remarkable and is said to have caused jealousy and friction.
Those who have seen him up close speak of a persuasive charisma and charm that flattering wealthy, famous, and socially aspiring philanthropists to open their checkbooks to help fill the coffers of Charles’ myriad charitable endeavors.
He is very good at his job, they say.
However, his manners towards some on the princes’ payrolls have been described as hardy and bossy. He is considered formidable; in his physical presence he is tall and well built and in his ability to get things done, which Charles greatly appreciates, although his way of doing things has occasionally offended.
In 1998, he first offered to resign following complaints from three staff members who felt Fawcett was putting all his weight, he denied. Charles would have been in tears.
But a week later, Fawcett was back, Charles having been persuaded by Camilla to refuse his resignation. It was Fawcett that Charles sent to New York with Camilla for his 1999 solo tour and introduction to the elite of the East Coast.
The second resignation came in 2002, after the money-for-gifts scandal, in which he was called Fawcett the Fence and accused of flogging unwanted royal gifts and enjoying a cultivation of gratuity with servants accepting gifts from suppliers and holders of royal mandates.
He was cleared of any financial impropriety by an internal investigation, led by Charless then private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, which determined that Charles had authorized the resale of his gifts. Fawcett admitted to the investigation that he received several gifts as a sign of gratitude for his professional services, including a valuable Tiffany watch, Cartier alarm clock, Pasha pen and Rolex. Although in violation of palace guidelines, the rules were lax and not enforced, and he did not hide the gifts, so the stigma cannot attach, the investigation concluded.
Once again, however, allegations about his behavior have surfaced.
It became evident in interviews with staff, suppliers and others that Mr. Fawcett was not liked by some. His position of perceived influence combined with what many have claimed to be on occasion too robust an approach has been commented on, the survey noted.
He added: His robust approach to dealing with certain people, combined perhaps with the fact that he was promoted from a relatively junior position within the household, has undoubtedly caused jealousy and friction in some. environments.
Fawcett set out to create Premier Mode Ltd, his events company, quickly enrolling Charles as his most lucrative client, and through which he organizes dinners, lunches, receptions, concerts and parties for princes. In 2018, Premier Mode was paid 276,000 for royal services. In addition, he earns a salary of just under 100,000 as Managing Director of The Princes Foundation. He runs Premier Mode with his wife, Debbie, a former palace housekeeper who went on to work for Prince Philip. The two-child couples are directors.
According to Bower, Robert Higdon, the former head of the Charless charity in America, did not like working with Fawcett at all, complaining that he organized dinners like a Barnum & Bailey circus, providing bad food and a horrible German sweet wine. Fawcett also helped redecorate the Charless Residences.
Perception is paramount in all things royal, and Charles needs to be more careful than anyone about how his charities raise funds, says Baker, arch-critic and author of And What Do You Do ?.
Eyebrows have been raised in the past over allegations of cash for royal access, even Prince Philip has reportedly referred to Charles as royal rent.
In 2003, it emerged that the wife of Turkish billionaire Cem Uzan was sitting next to Charles at one of the many lavish dinners the couple enjoyed as guests, having donated 400,000 to the Princes Foundation. Uzan, it later emerged, was under investigation for fraud-related offenses in the United States. This led Peat to announce a tightening of the verification of potential donors.
Visitors to the Dumfries House estate cannot fail to notice the names of wealthy donors on various buildings. Mahfouz, who is not charged with any wrongdoing, has a fountain and garden named after him at Dumfries House, and a wood at Mey Castle, the former home of the Queen Mother, another cause to which he made a donation.
Fawcett, born in Orpington, Kent, the son of a company cashier and district nurse, had a long Saturday job at an upscale menswear store to supplement his meager palace salary . Since then, he has held a range of senior managerial responsibilities and positions associated with Charles.
When he first arrived at Buckingham Palace, his manners led staff to nickname him Sir Michael. Depending on the outcome of this latest controversy, it’s a title, some have suggested, that it might actually reach Charles becoming king.
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