Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Royal harpist: I was heroin addict

A former official harpist to the Prince of Wales accused of committing a series of burglaries has told a court that she was hooked on heroin while she held her royal appointment.

Jemima Phillips, who played at Charles's wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall, allegedly stole a hoard of cash and electrical goods from houses across Coleford, Gloucestershire, in May.

Giving evidence at Gloucester Crown Court yesterday, the 28-year-old told the jury her younger brother died at an early age, she was bullied at school and has been in a series of abusive relationships.

Phillips, a former semi-finalist in the BBC's Young Musician Of The Year, and her ex-boyfriend, William Davies (41), both deny four counts of burglary.

Phillips also denies one count of handling stolen goods.

The Royal College of Music graduate told the court she started playing the harp at the age of eight and progressed quickly through the grades, playing concerts and weddings at the age of 14.

In 2004 Phillips said she was “fortunate” to be asked to play for Charles and was appointed royal harpist in July that year.

She said: “I took over as royal harpist.

“Even then my drug problem had started.”

Phillips held the post until 2007, and in that time played at numerous royal venues and occasions, including the wedding of the Queen's grandson Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly.

Davies has admitted five counts of handling stolen goods, the jury has heard.

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