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Former servant defends Prince Charles
( 2003-11-11 10:26) (Agencies)

A former royal servant has come to the defense of Prince Charles, supporting his denial of rumors that have created mounting controversy in Britain even though they cannot be reported.

More than a week after the rumors became the subject of a legal case, few in Britain know details of the allegations made by former royal valet George Smith. A court order forbids reporting on the alleged incident involving Charles and a royal servant.

But in any case, it "simply could not have happened," says another former servant Simon Solari.

"I have never spoken publicly about my service before but I feel compelled to speak out now as I feel the Prince of Wales is being unfairly maligned," the Evening Standard newspaper quoted Solari as saying.

Solari insisted that Smith would never have been in a position to witness the alleged incident. In defending Charles who has firmly denied the alleged incident ever happened Solari also put more details into the public domain, but with little explanation.

The royal household, Solari said, "operates a very strict system on military lines, with specific servants having specific roles. It would not have been in George's remit to attend the prince or serve him tea in his bedroom, that was a job for the senior valet," Solari was quoted as saying.

"The prince of Wales does not have breakfast in bed. It did not happen in my day, anyway," he said.

"More importantly, George Smith as an orderly and then an assistant to the valet would not have access to the prince's bedroom. He would not be asked to take tea to the prince, that would be a job for the senior valet. That is how the system works," Solari was quoted as saying.

The Mail on Sunday had intended to print a story Nov. 2 about allegations by Smith, but former royal aide Michael Fawcett obtained an injunction to block publication of the allegedly libelous story.

On Sunday, the newspaper reported Smith claimed he had been raped by another royal servant, who had also been involved in "an incident" with Charles.

Charles' decision to deny allegations that are not public knowledge has heightened speculation about what is alleged to have occurred rather than defusing the situation.

Charles' statement described the man making the allegations as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism following military service in the Falklands War.

"He has, in the past, made other unrelated allegations, which the police have fully investigated and found to be unsubstantiated," said the statement, which did not use Smith's name.

Smith, 43, worked for Charles for 11 years until 1997.

Princess Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell, told CNN on Monday that Smith "is a very good man. I like George. The princess liked George, too, and she tried to help him with all his problems."

Details of the rumors have been published on Internet sites and in some foreign newspapers.

W.H. Smith, a major retailer of newspapers and magazines, confirmed Monday that 14 foreign newspapers including titles from Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands were not available for sale in Britain over the weekend, because of a decision by the distributor, which supplies newspapers to the company.

The distributor, IPN, did not respond to calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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