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USA: Prince Charles

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether before Sir Michael Peat’s press conference on 26 June his Department was aware that the official gift given during the official visit to the USA in 2005 by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to President Bush had been selected and purchased by Michael Fawcett; and if he will make a statement. (156853)

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 26 July 2006, Official Report, column 1473W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2007, Official Report, columns 49-50W, on the USA: Prince Charles, and with reference to the letter subsequently sent to the hon. Member for Thurrock on 16 May 2007, how much of the cost of gifts was spent purchasing the Churchill Book presented by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales as an official present to President Bush; whether the reimbursement for its purchase was paid from the public purse to Premier Mode, Michael Fawcett, a consultant or His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’s Household; and if he will make a statement. (156854)

None of the cost of the official gift to President Bush was included in the cost of gifts in the letter of 16 May to my hon. Friend from my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary (Margaret Beckett). The letter contained details of the cost of gifts presented by their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during the visit to the USA in January 2007. The official gift of a book written by Sir Winston Churchill was presented to President Bush during the visit in November 2005. The book was purchased by the Household of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. In line with normal practice the cost was reimbursed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as sponsoring Department.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’s Household was consulted in preparing the answer given to the hon. Member for Thurrock on 17 November 2005, Official Report, column 1491W, on the United States (Prince of Wales’s Visit); and if he will make a statement. (156855)

Yes; it is our normal practice to consult all stakeholders when answering parliamentary questions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what basis Michael Fawcett was authorised to select and purchase the official gift given by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to President Bush during his official visit to the USA in 2005; and when Mr Fawcett’s role in this task became known to his Department. (156856)

Gifts are selected by the Royal Household under guidelines set by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The first reference to Michael Fawcett in this context was in my hon. Friend’s parliamentary question (UIN 26865) that was answered by my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary (Mr. Straw) on 17 November 2005, Official Report, column 1492W.