London (CNSNews.com) - The British royal family was in the midst of scandal Monday as officials tried to fend off allegations that royal aides covered up a homosexual rape by a palace servant.
The claims are the latest story to erupt from revelations by former royal butler Paul Burrell, who last week was acquitted on charges of stealing items from the estate of the late Princess Diana.
The end of the trial also caused embarrassment for the royals. Just before the former butler was about to take the stand in his own defense, the Queen Elizabeth said she recalled that Burrell told her shortly after the death of the princess that he had retained several of Diana's possessions for safekeeping.
The monarch's statement completely undermined the prosecution's case and the trial was immediately halted. After his acquittal, Burrell sold the exclusive rights to his story to a British tabloid for nearly $500,000. Along with tales of royal fights and peccadilloes, he told the Daily Mirror about the alleged rape of one servant by another.
Burrell said that the late princess had made a tape of the remarks by the alleged victim, who came forward over the weekend and said he could confirm the butler's account. Burrell also accused Prince Charles of trying to cover up the incident.
Palace officials denied Burrell's claims. In a statement, the prince's representatives said the allegations were investigated and found to be groundless in 1996.
"No evidence was forthcoming in support of them and the person concerned did not want to pursue the matter any further," the statement said.
The frenzy over Burrell's comments has prompted newspapers that lost the bidding war over rights to his story to delve into the butler's own personal life with relish. The most popular Sunday paper, the News of the World, reported that the butler tried to seduce a well-known male television host.
The story prompted Burrell to issue his own denial Monday.
"I have a wife and two boys and we are not going to give in to the vicious and disgusting slurs thrown at us," Burrell told reporters in New York, where he was scheduled to give interviews to several U.S. television shows.
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