By Stephen M. Silverman
November 13, 2002 11:00 AM

Prince Charles announced Tuesday that he has ordered an internal investigation into the two scandals swirling around the royal family.

The first investigation will look into whether anything improper was done to bring about the sudden conclusion of the theft trial of Princess Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell. Queen Elizabeth stepped in two weeks ago, saying she remembered that Burrell told her that he was going to keep some of Diana’s items for safekeeping — the same items he was charged with stealing, Diana’s family had claimed.

The general consensus in England is that the Queen intervened in the case to prevent Burrell, 44, from exposing embarrassing secrets about the royals on the witness stand, according to British press reports.

The other probe ordered by Charles, 53, involves allegations of homosexual rape by a former member of his own staff.

Last weekend, George Smith, 42, a former valet of Prince Charles, was quoted as saying in the Mail on Sunday that another man on the palace staff raped him in 1989. The alleged attacker was not identified in the report.

Prince Charles’s office has said the allegations were investigated within the palace and by police in 1996, when the alleged victim first spoke up, and that there was no basis for prosecution.

The law firm of Kingsley Napley has released a statement on behalf of the unidentified alleged rapist, denying Smith’s allegations.

Findings of the inquiries are expected to be published by Christmas, the Associated Press reports.