Harbinder Singh Rana was invited on to the Spirit of Chartwell as a guest of the Prince of Wales — who was not aware of his criminal past. During his time on the boat, Rana came within feet of the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Rana, from Walsall, West Mids, was jailed for four years in 1986 after being found guilty of a string of offences. He was convicted of five counts of indecent assault, 11 counts of assault causing actual bodily harm and one count of attempted assault.
He met Charles through his work with the Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail, which aims to promote awareness of the links between Sikhs and Brits. Rana is honorary director of the charity.
A Clarence House spokeswoman said, “Harbinder Singh was asked to take part in the pageant as he is a leading member of the Sikh community and someone who has done a lot of charitable work. Guests of the pageant, including representatives from all major faith communities, spread across a number of key vessels — as with the Royal Family, who were present on a number of vessels. No, we did not know about his convictions.”
‘Am not guilty’
Rana said that he did not commit the crimes, saying there had been a case of mistaken identity. He confirmed that he had not been asked about the matter before Sunday’s pageant.
He said his conviction was “very circumstantial” and added: “I was given the invitation and I attended. The fact that the Prince of Wales invited me clearly shows what I have done for the community since then.”
A royal source said that he would not have been invited had anyone known of his convictions. Rana said he did not speak to the Queen or any other senior royal on the barge.
More than a million people attended the pageant on the River Thames which was hailed a success despite the cold conditions and persistent rain which deluged participants and public.
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