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Charles borrowed from guards

world Updated: Dec 10, 2009 00:58 IST

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Britain’s Prince Charles borrowed nearly 3,000 pounds from his protection officers after the royal found himself short of cash and needing to fork out for “travel expenses,” a report said on Wednesday.

The heir to the throne repaid the 2,744.34 pounds to his officers after they stumped up the money thought to be for flights abroad, according to the Independent.

The money was paid back by Clarence House in December 2007 and Scotland Yard cashed the cheque days later, the newspaper said, citing a document.

The previous month the prince and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, had visited Turkey and Uganda.

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said officers did occasionally lend VIPs they were protecting money, although she did not confirm the 2007 incident. “On occasion, and if the need arises, protection officers will incur expenditure on behalf of principals, which are then repaid,” the spokeswoman told the newspaper. A spokeswoman for the prince would not comment on the matter.

Ken Wharfe, a former protection officer for Princess Diana, said it was commonplace among him and his former colleagues and that there was “nothing sinister about it”.

“It is very rare for members of the Royal Family to carry cash or credit cards so protection officers paying for things is quite a normal practice,” he was quoted by the paper saying.

“When I worked with the late Princess Diana I did this on numerous occasions for things like meals at restaurants to hotel bookings.”

British government and taxpayer funds given to the prince reached three million pounds last year, according to Clarence House.

Charles’ private income from the Duchy of Cornwall, the royal estate comprising agricultural, commercial and residential property, was 16.46 million pounds last year.