Don’t eat the Queen’s nuts. Queen Elizabeth II was so annoyed by police officers eating nuts laid out at Buckingham Palace that she marked a line on the bowl to monitor the level, jurors heard at Britain’s tabloid phone hacking trial.
The unusual allegation was included in an e-mail from the then News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman who has been convicted of eavesdropping on the voice mails of royal staff to his editor, Andy Coulson. Goodman’s 2005 e-mail claimed the royal staff had put out a selection of nuts, including cashews, almonds and Bombay mix around the palace.
“Problem is that police on patrol eat the lot... memo now gone around to all palace cops telling them to keep their sticky fingers out,” Goodman wrote. “Queen so narked she has started marking the bowls to see when the levels dipped.” Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the jury that the e-mail said the Queen was ‘upset’ because “apparently they were helping themselves to nuts”. He said: “They were all being scoffed by the police. That irritated Her Majesty apparently.”
Amid laughter in court, Justice Saunders told the jury that the claim that officers were stealing nuts was ‘an unproven allegation’. Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the nut allegations. Goodman was briefly jailed in 2007, along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, for eavesdropping on the voice mails of aides to Prince William and Prince Harry. He denies the new charges of conspiring with Coulson to pay police officers for two royal phone directories.
Goodman and Coulson are on trial alongside former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks and four others on a variety of hacking-related charges.The trial stems from the revelation in 2011 that employees of the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid eavesdropped on the voice mails of royalty, celebrities, politicians, athletes and even crime victims in its search for scoops.
In the e-mail sent in March 2005, Goodman also claimed he knew the printer doing the order of service for the Prince of Wales’ wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall, and had a man checking out the wedding invitations, the jury was told. “Only person to accept so far is Tony Blair,” he had written at the time.