Published 14 November 2002

THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS ISSUED BY THE PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN

Following the announcement by St James's Palace that there will be an immediate review into specific allegations relating to The Prince of Wales's office and the Paul Burrell case, The Queen supports this decision for an immediate review by Sir Michael Peat.

The Queen's involvement in the Burrell case has been made clear ever since the judge's decision to dismiss the case, and Buckingham Palace has today again released the chronology of The Queen's involvement in the Burrell case.

Chronology of The Queen's involvement in the case

In December 1997 The Queen met Mr Burrell privately for about one and a half hours at his request. In the course of the discussion Mr Burrell mentioned that he had taken some of the Princess's papers for safekeeping. No response was sought from The Queen and none was given.

Following the raid on Mr Burrell's house in January 2001 The Prince of Wales's private secretary informed The Queen's private secretary that none of The Queen's personal possessions had been found. Sir Robin Janvrin reported this to The Queen and advised her that there was therefore no basis for any involvement in the police investigation.

On 3rd April 2001 at the suggestion of The Prince of Wales's private secretary, The Queen's private secretary attended a police/CPS briefing at St James's Palace as an observer. During this briefing the police outlined the possible charges and said that they were investigating whether Mr Burrell had been selling some of the items. Following this meeting Sir Robin Janvrin reported to The Queen and advised that he had agreed with The Prince of Wales's private secretary that all further liaison with the police would be a matter for St James's Palace.

On 21st September 2001 a letter was received from Paul Burrell's solicitor asking for a meeting to discuss Paul Burrell's life and service with the Royal Family. This was declined because The Queen was not involved with the case and a meeting might have been misinterpreted as interference in the judicial process.

In the autumn of 2001 The Queen's private secretary was told informally by The Prince of Wales's private secretary that the police had told The Prince of Wales that they had evidence that Paul Burrell had been selling items from the Princess's estate. He mentioned this to The Queen.

On 22nd October 2002 it was made clear during the trial that, contrary to their earlier advice, the police had no evidence that Paul Burrell had been selling the items in question.

On October 25th, The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales discussed the case in the car en route to the Bali Memorial Service at St Paul's. The Queen mentioned the meeting with Paul Burrell five years ago, and his statement that he had taken some of the Princess's papers for safekeeping. Given the importance to the prosecution case of the question of whether or not Mr Burrell had told anyone that he had taken items from Kensington Palace, the relevance of this information was realised and quickly drawn to the attention of the police.

The subsequent decision on whether or not the trial should proceed was entirely for the CPS.