A former aide to the Prince of Wales has temporarily stepped down from his role as Chief Executive of The Prince’s Foundation amid allegations that he used his influence to help secure an honour for a major donor.
Michael Fawcett has been accused of offering to help a wealthy Saudi businessman with an honour.
Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz received an honorary CBE in late 2016.
The Prince’s Foundation said it was investigating the matter.
The organisation, of which Mr Fawcett became chief executive in 2018, is an umbrella group for a number of Prince Charles’ charitable interests.
Claims about Mr Fawcett’s conduct were published in the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday.
The Sunday Times said Mr Mahfouz, who denies any wrongdoing, donated large sums to restoration projects of particular interest to Prince Charles.
Mr Fawcett is alleged to have coordinated support for an honour for Mr Mahfouz, according to newspaper reports.
Douglas Connell, chair of The Prince’s Foundation, said Mr Fawcett offered on Saturday to step down temporarily from chief executive duties while an investigation was carried out.
Mr Connell added: “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.”
A spokeswoman for The Prince’s Foundation said: “The Prince’s Foundation takes very seriously the allegations that have recently been brought to its attention and the matter is currently under investigation.”
Mr Fawcett was once a close aide of Prince Charles and served as his valet until 2003.
BBC Royal Correspondent Jonny Dymond said that a Palace source stressed the distance between Prince Charles’ office and his foundation, but Mr Fawcett was known for being close to Prince Charles and these allegations were an “embarrassment” for him.
Mr Fawcett began his royal service in 1981 as a footman to the Queen, before later becoming Prince Charles’ assistant valet.
In 2003, he was cleared of financial misconduct allegations over the selling of royal gifts.
He resigned after the internal report criticised the running of the royal household, but continued to work as a freelance fixer and Prince Charles’ events manager.