Former aide to Prince Charles steps down over cash-for-honors scandal

Michael Fawcett, who beforehand served because the prince’s valet, has been accused of utilizing his place and affect to assist Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz receive an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (or CBE) title, in response to the Sunday Times.

An honorary CBE is among the highest accolades that may be obtained by a non-Commonwealth citizen. The Sunday Times reported Mahfouz made giant monetary donations to refurbishment initiatives of curiosity to the Prince of Wales in trade for assist in securing the honorary title, which the Queen conferred in 2016. The newspaper alleges Fawcett — who left his valet function in 2003 however was reportedly freelancing for the royal — coordinated the applying course of.

The Sunday Times reported Mahfouz — who denies any wrongdoing — was looking for quite a few honorary roles to bolster his software for British citizenship via the “golden visa” for funding program.

CNN has reached out to Mahfouz for remark. CNN additionally tried to achieve Fawcett via the Prince’s Foundation. Queries to Buckingham Palace have been redirected to Clarence House, which have been in flip referred to the Prince’s Foundation.

The Prince’s Foundation is an umbrella group for plenty of Charles’ charitable initiatives, based mostly on the historic Dumfries House property in Scotland, which is used as a middle for schooling and coaching and champions sustainable residing.

Fawcett has been chief govt of the inspiration since 2018, in response to the PA information company. It is operated individually from Prince Charles’ essential workplace at Clarence House.

Prince Charles with his then-valet Michael Fawcett in an undated file photograph.

A spokesperson for The Prince’s Foundation instructed CNN in a press release it “takes very seriously the allegations that have recently been brought to its attention and the matter is currently under investigation.”

Douglas Connell, chair of The Prince’s Foundation, mentioned in a press release Fawcett provided to step down briefly “from active duties as Chief Executive of The Prince’s Foundation while the Trustees’ investigation is ongoing.”

“The Prince’s Foundation has accepted this offer. Michael fully supports the ongoing investigation and has confirmed that he will assist the investigation in every way,” Connell added.

A supply near the inspiration instructed CNN that Emily Cherrington, chief working officer, will take over within the interim and that The Prince’s Foundation is a charity registered in Scotland, so the Scottish Charity Regulator has been knowledgeable.

According to The Sunday Times, in addition to being a serious donor to Prince Charles’ charities, Mahfouz has a forest named after him at Castle of Mey, which was the Queen Mother’s house and is now one in all Prince Charles’ Scottish residences. Mahfouz is listed as a patron of The Prince’s Foundation.

Fawcett, whom the Prince of Wales as soon as described as “indispensable,” joined the royal service in 1981 as a footman to the Queen.

He earned fast promotion to sergeant footman earlier than being made assistant valet to Charles. In 2003, the royal aide resigned from Charles’s service following allegations of mismanagement of his royal family. A report later cleared Fawcett of promoting undesirable royal items and taking a reduce of the revenue. However, he was discovered to have bent guidelines and accepted perks and hospitality.

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