Trials Exposed Practice of Passing on Unwanted Gifts

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT JOBSON

THE PALACE culture of royals passing on gifts to servants was revealed in the trials of former butlers Paul Burrell and Harold Brown.

The cases were brought by the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis of the "implausibility" of servants being entrusted to dispose of royal property.

But evidence given at the trials revealed the practice of royals passing on some of the many gifts presented to them. The prosecution maintained that the gifts that staff received were only "bottles of champagne or prizes won at polo matches". But Brown's defence team revealed in court that Charles had once offered a gold wedding ring to his staff, which led to calls for an inquiry.

James Townend, QC, said: 'There would have been evidence of his note on an old envelope, addressed to his staff, stating, 'There is a very good, gold wedding ring here which someone in the office might find useful'."

In the Burrell trial it was revealed that he was also given dozens of presents by Diana. They included a writing desk presented to Charles and Diana by the people of Aberdeen that Burrell said the princess gave to him for his sons to use. …