10/15/2004 at 09:00 AM EDT
A former teacher of Prince Harry claims to have been unfairly dismissed from Eton College last year after she was ordered to help the royal cheat on an exam. And she says a secretly recorded tape proves her allegations to be true.
A spokesman for Harry's father, Prince Charles, questions and criticizes the credibility of the tape, the Associated Press and Reuters report.
The former teacher, Sarah Forsyth, 30, told a tribunal on Thursday that she was forced by her employers to write nearly all the text of an art project that Prince Harry, 20, submitted to pass a key exam in 2002 so that he could get into the Sandhurst military training academy.
Forsyth told the tribunal that she thought her behavior was "unethical" but was forced by her superiors to do it.
Forsyth's attorney, Robin Allen, quoted Harry as saying on the tape – which was not played during the hearing – about the amount of work he had contributed to the project: "It was a tiny, tiny bit. I did about a sentence of it." Eton later released its own transcript of the tape, on which it quotes Harry as having said: "I was, like, a sentence in it."
Paddy Harverson, the Prince of Wales's Communications Secretary, said after the hearing that the allegations had previously been disproved and that it was unfair for Forsyth's legal team to have used quotes out of context that "placed their own interpretation upon it."
Said Harverson: "The tape ... contains barely audible half-sentences, and it appears to have been edited. It is also difficult to tell what Harry is saying and what he is referring to, due to the poor quality of the recording and the disjointed nature of the tape. The fact remains Harry did not cheat."
Nigel Giffen, a lawyer for Eton, called Forsyth's conduct "pretty grubby."