The Queen was so “irritated” about police officers eating nuts left out at Buckingham Palace that she marked bowls to record the levels being taken, the phone-hacking trial has heard.
She was “upset” by officers eating the snacks, which prompted a memo to palace officers, telling them to “keep their sticky fingers out”, according to an e-mail sent by Clive Goodman, former royal editor at the News of the World.
In the e-mail to the former editor Andy Coulson, Goodman wrote: “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.”
Staff had put out a selection of nuts around the palace, according to the e-mail from March 2005. “Queen so narked she has started marking the bowls to see when the levels dipped,” Goodman added.
Goodman, 56, from Surrey, is charged with former spin doctor Coulson with conspiring to commit misconduct in public office. The jury was told yesterday that another defendant, former News of the World news editor Ian Edmondson, is “currently unfit” and will take no further part in the trial.
Edmondson – who is charged with conspiring to hack phones between October 2000 and August 2006 while working at the now-defunct Sunday newspaper – will be tried by a different jury at a later date, Mr Justice Saunders ruled.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the jury the Queen was “upset” about the behaviour of the officers, according to Goodman’s e-mail.
“Apparently, they were helping themselves to nuts,” the barrister said. “They were all being scoffed by police. That irritated Her Majesty, apparently.”
Goodman also claimed he knew the printer doing the order of service for the Prince of Wales’s wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall and had a man checking out the wedding invitations, the jury was told.
In another e-mail sent in October 2005, Goodman discussed payment to a military colleague of the Duke of Cambridge, in which he referred to William being nicknamed “Prince Dynamo” because of his fitness levels, the jury was told. Giving evidence later, the Prince of Wales’s former private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, declined to answer whether he was involved in an affair in January 2003. Jurors have previously heard Sir Michael was targeted by journalists, chasing false rumours the aide had been having an affair.
Prosecutors claim Goodman paid for two copies of a royal telephone directory – known as a green book – from palace police officers, with the funds allegedly authorised by Coulson.
A total of 15 copies of the book were found in Goodman’s home when it was searched in 2006.
Under cross-examination by David Spens QC, counsel for Goodman, Sir Michael said he understood there was a “long-standing practice” among staff or police in the royal household to supply copies of the green book to the press.
“We were of the view that there was a substantial risk that it would get in the hands of those it was not intended,” he told the court.
Sir Michael, who was Charles’ private secretary from 2002 to 2011, said he rejected the suggestion put to him by Mr Spens that “much of the public” were hostile to the prince at the time he took on the role.
Goodman and Coulson, 45, from Kent, face two allegations they conspired together and with other unknown people to commit misconduct in public office between August 2002 and January 2003, and between 31 January, 2005 and 3 June, 2005.
Coulson is also accused of conspiring to hack phones between 3 October, 2000 and 9 August, 2006.
That charge is also faced by former News of the World and Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, 45, of Oxfordshire, and former managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 73, of Essex. All charges are denied and the case continues.