Former royal aide charged with abuse

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iol pic wld Britain-royals-philip AFP Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. File picture: Peter MacDiarmid

London -

The former personal assistant of Britain's Prince Philip has been charged with sexually abusing a girl while he was working for the royal family in the 1970s, prosecutors said.

Benjamin Herman, 79, was the personal assistant or “equerry” to the 93-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth from 1971 to 1974.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said Herman would appear in court on Monday.

“He is charged with three counts of indecent assault between 1972 and 1974 on a girl aged around 12,” the spokesman said.

Herman's role was to attend to Philip's engagements and personal matters, and he later became the head of the household of Philip's daughter Princess Anne.

The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that police had examined Philip's official diaries from the time and had taken statements from former palace staff.

A police spokesman would not comment on whether former palace staff had been interviewed, and a spokesman for Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Britain has been rocked by a series of scandals involving historic child abuse by prominent figures.

The Mirror reported that the alleged victim had come forward following the 2012 revelation that the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile was a prolific sexual predator, which sparked a wave of investigations.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to leave “no stone unturned” in investigating accusations, including claims of a paedophile ring involving senior politicians in the 1970s and 1980s. - Sapa-AFP


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