A royal aide said the “totally ludicrous” rumours had to be denied because they were becoming so widespread. But some observers said that by responding to gossip, the prince could be ensuring the gossip eventually gets published.
“It is a high-risk strategy, not only for this case but for what may come afterward,” said Lord St. John of Fawsley, a friend of the Royal Family. “The risk is that the appetite will grow with what it feeds upon and therefore this will go on and on and this particular case won’t stop it.”
British newspapers devoted long – if vague – stories to the allegations Friday. The Independent referred to “an allegedly compromising incident,” although the Times wrote of “a sexual incident involving a former royal servant.”
The statement by Charles referred to recent “media reports concerning an allegation that a former royal household employee witnessed an incident some years ago involving a senior member of the Royal Family.
“The allegation was that the Prince of Wales was involved in the incident. This allegation is untrue. The incident which the former employee claims to have witnessed did not take place,” the statement said.
The Mail on Sunday newspaper said it had planned to publish a “sensational” story based on claims by a former royal servant. A former aide to Charles won an injunction Saturday to stop the paper from printing the claims.
Then, on Thursday, a judge lifted an injunction barring the Guardian newspaper from naming the aide. The Guardian immediately identified him as Michael Fawcett, a former senior aide to Prince Charles. The prince issued his statement a few hours later.