Prince Charles's confidant Michael Fawcett has resigned as chief executive of the Prince's Foundation, a position to which he'd risen over four decades after starting as a footman to Queen Elizabeth
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Michael Fawcett, former valet to Prince Charles
Michael Fawcett with Prince Charles
| Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Prince Charles's closest confidant for decades has left his post as head of the royal's Prince's Foundation amid an ongoing inquiry into cash for official honors, PEOPLE has confirmed.

Michael Fawcett has permanently stepped down from The Prince's Foundation, with a spokesperson for The Prince's Foundation saying in a statement to PEOPLE: "Michael Fawcett has resigned from his post as CEO of The Prince's Foundation."

Fawcett's private work providing party planning services, via his firm Premier Mode, to Charles's household has also ended. A Clarence House spokesperson said, "Michael Fawcett and Premier Mode will not be providing services to us in the future. We have all agreed to end these arrangements."

The departure of Fawcett — who rose from being a footman to Queen Elizabeth to Charles's valet and ultimately to running the charity — comes two months after a series of newspaper articles about how official honors and British citizenship were allegedly sought on behalf of a Saudi businessman. Fawcett originally stepped down "temporarily from active duties," the chief of the charity said, when the stories emerged.

The Daily Mail, which broke the story of Fawcett's resignation late Thursday, reported a friend saying that Fawcett's permanent departure "was his decision and his decision alone, and he is not pre-empting anything that may or may not be found." When contacted by PEOPLE, a Foundation spokesperson would not comment further due to the ongoing inquiry.

Prince Charles with his valet Michael Fawcett
Prince Charles with Michael Fawcett
| Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The inquiry was launched after The Sunday Times and The Mail on Sunday reported allegations that Fawcett helped support a campaign for official honors for Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz.

A letter from Fawcett to an aide to Mahfouz in August 2018, published by the Mail on Sunday, reportedly said, "In light of the ongoing and most recent generosity of His Excellency ... I am happy to confirm to you, in confidence, that we are willing and happy to support and contribute to the application for Citizenship." 

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At the time, Clarence House responded to the allegations in a statement to PEOPLE saying, "The Prince of Wales has no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities and fully supports the investigation now underway by The Prince's Foundation."