Tense time for the roy­als

As Prince Philip went into hos­pi­tal, Pippa Mid­dle­ton’s fa­ther-in-law, David Matthews, was fight­ing to clear his name

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‘David cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nies the al­le­ga­tion and con­tests the un­true and scan­dalous ac­cu­sa­tions’

With a royal baby due any day, Prince Philip go­ing into hos­pi­tal and – of course – that wed­ding in May, all eyes are on the royal fam­ily at the mo­ment.

A hip op­er­a­tion at 96 is ma­jor surgery, and while ev­ery­one hopes he will be well enough for Harry’s wed­ding on 19 May, the roy­als are stay­ing tight-lipped.

But that’s not the only un­wel­come news for the royal fam­ily of late.

David Matthews, the fa­therin-law of Pippa Mid­dle­ton – sis­ter of the Duchess of Cam­bridge – has been placed un­der for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion by French au­thor­i­ties.

Mr Matthews, 74, has been ac­cused of the rape of a mi­nor on two oc­ca­sions – once on the is­land of St Barts in 1998, where he owns Eden Roc Re­sort Ho­tel, and around a year later in Paris. The girl was re­port­edly 15 at the time.

Un­der French law, be­ing put un­der for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion means there is ‘se­ri­ous or con­sis­tent ev­i­dence’ that points to prob­a­ble in­volve­ment in a crime. It is a step to­ward a trial, but in­ves­ti­ga­tions can be dropped with­out pro­ceed­ing to court.

The multi-mil­lion­aire, whose son James mar­ried Pippa last year, was ques­tioned af­ter be­ing de­tained when he landed at Paris Orly Air­port.

But with the Mid­dle­tons’ close links to the roy­als – Pippa Mid­dle­ton is aunt to the fu­ture King Ge­orge – the al­le­ga­tions, which Mr Matthews cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nies, must surely be quite em­bar­rass­ing for the royal fam­ily and their friends?

The woman (who hasn’t been named) is now 34, but is said to have come for­ward to po­lice in Paris last year, claim­ing she was left feel­ing ‘worth­less’ in the wake of the al­leged as­saults.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion means that Mr Matthews will now be forced to fight the ‘un­true and scan­dalous’ ac­cu­sa­tions.

‘David Matthews cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nies the al­le­ga­tions and un­equiv­o­cally con­tests the un­true and scan­dalous ac­cu­sa­tions,’ said a spokesper­son for the fam­ily.

There are no re­stric­tions on Mr Matthews’ ‘free­dom of move­ment’, and it has been re­ported that he’s now in St Barts.

It’s the lo­ca­tion of just one of the homes owned by the mil­lion­aire, who be­gan his ca­reer as an ap­pren­tice car me­chanic be­fore build­ing up a for­tune in the ho­tel in­dus­try.

More wel­come news for the fam­ily is that Spencer Matthews, 28, David’s youngest son, is ex­pect­ing a baby with model Vogue Wil­liams, 32, later this year. The baby is be­lieved to be due in Septem­ber.

David Matthews Prince Philip

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