| Prince Charles
London, June 13: George Smith, the former royal valet whose lurid allegations seven months ago called into question the Prince of Wales’ fitness to become king, is exposed today as a desperate man who will lie on oath for money.
Smith, who was paid more than £60,000 by a Sunday newspaper for his scurrilous “story”, has agreed that in return for a similar sum he would retract and admit that Prince Charles was never implicated in a homosexual incident with another royal servant.
Last year he swore an affidavit for the Mail on Sunday saying that he had witnessed a supposed “encounter” involving the Prince at Kensington Palace. In return he was given a contract stipulating that he would receive substantial payments.
Within weeks of his contract expiring, however, Smith was willing to swear that his claim had been a lie. In extensive video- and audio-taped conversations with reporters from The Sunday Telegraph over the past 10 days, Smith repeatedly insisted that he would be happy to reverse his claims about Prince Charles.
When asked what his version of events would now be, he said: “I didn’t see him (Prince Charles) in a compromising position. The reason I said that was because I was angry with XX (he names another royal servant who cannot be identified for legal reasons).”
When asked whether he would swear a new affidavit denying that he saw any such incident and also write an apology to the Prince of Wales, he said: “Yes, I would.”
The Daily Telegraph had, and has, no intention of paying Smith and offered him the possibility of money purely in order to test his credibility as a witness.
Today’s revelation discredits the previous claims by Smith, 44, which caused worldwide embarrassment for the royal family.
Paddy Harverson, the communications secretary for the Prince of Wales, said yesterday: “This is very interesting information. It confirms what we believed at the time and raises important issues for the media industry with respect to chequebook journalism of this kind.”
The Mail on Sunday had intended to detail the alleged incident in its issue of November 3, 2003, but a last-minute injunction by lawyers acting for the other former royal servant involved prevented publication.
Over the following week speculation grew as to the nature of the claims — initially said to involve a “senior member of the royal family”. Within days, versions of Smith’s account had become common currency over the Internet and eventually in the foreign media.
A spokesperson for the Mail on Sunday said last night: “George Smith told his story to Diana, Princess of Wales and to the police in a formal statement which formed the basis of a criminal investigation. We find it deeply regrettable that The Sunday Telegraph has offered this vulnerable man large sums of money in an attempt to trick him into perjuring himself.”