Prince Philip’s former aide has been accused of child sex abuse while working at Buckingham Palace.
A court has heard that Benjamin Herman groomed a child by taking her to Buckingham Palace before repeatedly assaulting her.
He is accused of abusing the girl, who was allegedly aged around 11 at the time and of repeatedly molesting her while serving as the Duke of Edinburgh’s equerry or personal assistant in the early 70s.
The Mirror reports:
Giving evidence the woman, who is now in her 50s, told Blackfriars Crown Court: “”I just remember being impressed, he told me that he often had charge of Prince Edward and Prince Andrew and played football with them.
“It gave me a view of the Royal family that was a bit casual and having fun.”
She said she felt “privileged” when Herman allegedly took her in his family’s orange VW Camper for a drive around Buckingham Palace’s forecourt.
The victim and defendant were neighbours in housing for military personnel in south west London when the attacks are said to have occurred.
Edmund Gritt, prosecuting, said: “He paid her attention, he would follow her and compliment her on her appearance and on occasions give her sweets and trinkets, including a keyring.
“On one occasion she was thrilled when he drove her and her friend into the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, past security, but that didn’t end there, his attention to this girl.”
Herman was a serving major in the Royal Marines on secondment as equerry between 1971 and 1974, handling the Duke’s private matters and engagements.
He had an office at Buckingham Palace.
He is accused of assaulting the girl in his marital bed and in his bath while his wife was in the house.
And he indecently touched her while swimming at exclusive Hurlingham Club on the Thames in Fulham, west London, it is claimed.
After keeping the abuse a secret between a few close friends the woman went to police in 2012 when TV presenter Jimmy Savile was outed as a paedophile.
She said: “I was very upset, I felt that I couldn’t suppress it any longer.”
Herman denies ever knowing the the alleged victim.
However jurors were told the woman could recall details about his family home and Herman’s camper van.
Herman, of Hook, Hants, appeared in the dock wearing spectacles, a dark suit with a pocket square, white shirt and blue tie.
He faces three charges of indecently assaulting a child under 13 and one charge of indecency with a child under 14 between January 19, 1972 and January 18, 1974.
Prince Philip was not asked to provide a statement to police.