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Lord Frederick Windsor at his 21st birthday party, stands in fancy dress with his sister Gabriella, who turns 19-years-old, outside Kensington Palace in London, Saturday July 1, 2000. The party was given by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent for both their son and daughter's birthdays. Many high society guests attended the spectacular event themed on the court and courtiers and was based on the Fete Champetre, or sophisticated picnic, traditionally an event thrown by the King of France.

July 3, 2000


LONDON (AP) - Four of Queen Elizabeth II's footmen have been suspended from their duties after allegations that they stole crates of champagne left over from a royal birthday celebration, Buckingham Palace said Sunday.


The palace has launched its own inquiry into the activities of the men, who are usually based in the palace, or at Windsor Castle, the queen's weekend home west of London. The bottles were left over from a party on June 21 that celebrated, among other things, the 100th birthday of the queen's mother, Queen Mother Elizabeth, and the 18th birthday of her grandson, Prince William.


"We can confirm that four footmen have been suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation," said a Buckingham Palace spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The police are not involved."


News reports said another member of staff saw the footmen loading the champagne into the boot of a car. 


Separately Sunday, women went on sentry duty outside Buckingham Palace for the first time.     The four women are part of a 150-strong contingent of Australian soldiers who are on guard duty to coincide with Australia Week, marking the 100th anniversary of Australia becoming part of the Commonwealth, the club of Britain and its former colonies.       

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