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Fawcett: Footman to trusted aide

The prince described Fawcett, seen with his wife, as
The prince described Fawcett, seen with his wife, as "indispensable."

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LONDON, England -- The senior royal aide who resigned as a report into the workings of Prince Charles' household was being published rose through the ranks to become one of Prince Charles' most trusted advisers.

The prince once described Michael Fawcett as "indispensable" and has already promised him work once he has set up the event management business he is planning to run.

Fawcett quit after the report found him not guilty of selling unwanted royal gifts and taking a cut of the takings but the inquiry did find he had bent the rules at St James' Palace and accepted perks and hospitality. (Aide quits)

The aide joined royal service in 1981 as a footman to the queen but earned quick promotion to sergeant footman and then he was made assistant valet to Charles, the Prince of Wales.

During his years at St James' Palace Fawcett acquired status and the ear of the prince -- but his style, described in Thursday's report as "robust," also gained him enemies, some of whom may also have been jealous of his relationship with the prince.

Three complaints were made against him by fellow employees in 1998, which stated Fawcett had been "throwing his weight around," the UK's Press Association said.

But one week later he was promoted to become Charles' personal assistant -- a job that involves organizing the prince's social diary and entertaining.

But his influence extended wider with the heir to the throne consulting him on many matters. Charles once said: "I can manage without just about anyone, except for Michael."

Fawcett's status in the pecking order was confirmed when the prince allowed him to live in a 400,000 four-bedroom grace-and-favor home in west London, owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. He lives there with his wife Debbie and their two children.

Now he has left St James' Palace for the private sector Prince Charles will have to find a replacement but he will still have access to Fawcett in a freelance capacity.

The prince said Thursday: "I am enormously grateful to Mr. Fawcett for all he has done over many years and I wish him well with his new business."

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