THE Metropolitan Police has been accused of “protecting” King Charles during an investigation into the alleged illegal selling of honours by some of the monarch’s closest aides.

Last year, the police force launched an investigation into how a Saudi billionaire became the recipient of a CBE.

Documents given to the Met months before the investigation was eventually launched showed how some of Charles’s closest advisers had met with representatives of Mahfouz bin Mahfouz – one of the richest men in Saudi Arabia – with the explicit promise of money in return for the honour.

It is alleged that Michael Fawcett, a former senior valet to Charles, helped organise the honour after Mahfouz donated more than £1.5 million to royal charities.

When still Prince of Wales, Charles bestowed the honour on Mahfouz at a private ceremony in Buckingham Palace, which did not feature on the official record of the royal’s engagements.

Now, more than 18 months since the force was given evidence of the alleged illegal activity, a journalist for The Sunday Times has revealed that the police have still not spoken to either Mahfouz or King Charles about the incident.

Gabriel Pogrund took to Twitter to vent his frustration about the pace of the investigation.

“We are in 2023: it has been 18 months and two calendar years - but the Met has failed to speak to two men at the heart of the affair: The Saudi who received the CBE [and the] the king, who gave it to him in a secret Buckingham Palace ceremony and privately met him in three countries.

“Week after week we have been asking the Met for updates to ensure law enforcement is doing its job a) at all, b) properly. Nothing. Then after months of silence, it recently gave an update: in October 2021, it contacted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to ask for "early investigative advice".

“According to the police inspectorate, such advice is provided at a ‘very early stage’ (!) of an investigation In essence, CPS lawyers can give guidance as to the sort of evidence which would be needed for a prosecution to be brought.

“Sir Mark Rowley [the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police] has pledged allegiance to Charles and reportedly may ask all his officers to do so.

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“On one hand, obviously normal in a constitutional monarchy. On the other, an interesting situation given an (abormal) live investigation in which the sovereign is embroiled not least for the officers in the specialist unit entrusted with investigating.”

He added: “I have no big opinions about monarchy and such as I did it wouldn't have any effect of our reporting.

“But - a la partygate - it is a disturbing state of affairs in which the Met can fail to investigate those at the apex of society without explaining why, then investigate in the slowest way imaginable, without talking to key witnesses, and without providing any transparency at all.”

Republican campaign group Republic said: "The Met police protecting Charles. This is a scandal."

In 2006, Tony Blair was interviewed by police after SNP MP Angus MacNeil urged the Metropolitan Police to look into whether the Labour Party had broken the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act.

It followed the nomination of five wealthy businessmen to the House of Lords by Tony Blair just months after the men provided a total of £5m in loans to the Labour Party during the 2005 General Election campaign.

After an investigation costing £1.4 million the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it had insufficient evidence to bring charges.

The Metropolitan Police has been contacted for comment.