No reprieve will be granted, there will not be a last-minute appeal to clemency or gatherings of land-owning greats to plead for his redemption.

The man who came from nothing is now back in his place, for the first time since 40 years.

Two parts of the story about Michael Fawcett’s rise and fall is tragic.

For Fawcett it is about being raised to a status that was unimaginable when he first arrived at Buckingham Palace as a lowly footman – and then flying too high.

End of the royal road: Fawcett with wife Debbie, who spent this week buying Charles’s Christmas gifts

End of the royal road: Fawcett with wife Debbie, who spent this week buying Charles’s Christmas gifts

For the Prince of Wales it is about losing the one man whose service and loyalty he prized above all others, and of whom he once said: ‘I can manage without just about anyone except for Michael.’

Eighteen years ago, when Fawcett’s name was linked to unsavoury allegations concerning the disposal of royal gifts, a report exonerated him of wrongdoing. Fawcett became the villain, yet he survived and prospered thanks to adroit royal maneuvering. Just as he had five years earlier when rival staff, tired of his bullying and overbearing manner, plotted to oust him – only for well-connected royal friends to come racing to his rescue.

This time, however, his claims were far more grave. Mired in allegations that he had helped secure honours and British citizenship for a wealthy Saudi tycoon who had bankrolled Charles’s charities, it has been a question of not if Fawcett would depart, but when.

The Daily Mail’s revelation that the prince has accepted the resignation of the man who had been with him through thick and thin – and once seemed unsackable – is tinged not with triumph but sadness and sorrow.

Technically, the high-flyer whose life began in a modest bungalow resigned from the Prince’s Foundation, of which he was chief executive. Prince Charles’ approval would have allowed him to leave.

Bag carrier: With royal luggage

Carry your bag with royal luggage

After the dust has settled, this time there will not be any cosy returns. For the man with the spit-and-polished tasselled loafers, Turnbull & Asser shirts and hand-tailored suits – a style epitomised by the prince he served with such devotion – is severing every royal connection.

Fawcett has given up his position at Dumfries House. This was the Scottish treasure Charles was able to save from destruction. Fawcett oversaw it with an eye for detail and even his enemies agree.

And perhaps most significantly of all, Fawcett’s private company Premier Mode, the events business he established after a previous ‘sacking’, has severed its links with Clarence House.

Fawcett and his wife Debbie are now at the end of their royal road. She too was a symbol of selfless service, having completed her final task this week – purchasing the presents on the prince’s Christmas list.

As brutal as only a Palace coup can be, Fawcett’s departure represents the most significant transition for Charles from Prince of Wales to king-in–waiting.

Courtiers who have long viewed Fawcett as a negative presence in the prince’s life are understood to view his leaving as a vital and necessary step.

Not so long ago, Fawcett was being talked of as a future Master of the Household under King Charles – a position of considerable influence.

A knighthood was also discussed. This would have been the highest honor for the son of a cashier, and a nurse, who grew up in suburb Bexley, Kent. He repeatedly bounced back because of the seemingly unbreakable bond between the master and his ‘indispensable’ servant, forged in the acrimony of the royal marriage break-up. This time, however, he was not defeated.

Fawcett could have easily escaped the uproar about cash access. With the prince on the throne now, it was too dangerous to continue with this vile taint.

When the Duchess-of-Cornwall withdrew support for him, rather than backing him like she had always done in the past. This moment was pivotal in the subsequent fallout of the scandal.

Years ago, first in 1998 and later in 2003, it was the then Mrs Parker Bowles who was the most vociferous of Fawcett’s defenders. But two months ago it was revealed that Fawcett, who was appointed head of The Prince’s Foundation in 2018, had helped to fix a CBE for a Saudi tycoon who donated £1.5million to royal charities.

Charles accepted also a 6-figure donation by a Russian businessman. Charles then thanked him and offered to meet.

Trouble and strife: Diana changed the locks after marriage split to keep out Charles... and Fawcett

Stiffness and difficulty: Diana changed locks in her marriage to keep Charles…and Fawcett out

In a third incident he is reported to have offered to help secure a knighthood – and British citizenship – for another foreign donor.

The revelations revealed a dark side to a world that was full of favors and backscratching.

Fawcett stood down from his £90,000-a-year role while an independent inquiry investigated.

I understand that he has not had sight of the inquiry’s report – which has not yet been completed in any case – but yesterday’s dramatic move indicates that Fawcett fears its findings will be damning.

He is certain that the scandal has shattered his life and has suffered a severe impact on his physical and mental health.

One friend has witnessed the father of two who was married to a Palace maid and has said that he’s lost five stone. He tells me: ‘Michael has always been an incredibly positive and confident fellow but he is causing concern.

‘He has been receiving professional help and he is heartbroken at the turn of events.’

Deserted by the duchess: Camilla’s withdrawal of support for Fawcett, left, was the final straw

Deserted by the duchess: Camilla’s withdrawal of support for Fawcett, left, was the final straw

Another insider says: ‘Michael has given the prince the ultimate gift – his resignation, thus avoiding any unpleasantness later on.’

They have been together for more than 40 years.

Fawcett has been an unwavering constant in the prince’s life – as ‘non-negotiable as Camilla used to be’, observes a Palace aide – while others in his household, some far more senior, have come and gone. ‘No one understood the prince’s moods and eccentricities quite like Michael – and no one had his skill in dealing with them,’ says an old friend.

‘We are not just talking about his petty foibles, how he likes his napkins folded or just how little vermouth should go in to his dry martini… Michael has trained others to do that. It’s that he gets his sensibilities and understands him aesthetically, philosophically and commercially. They are powerful assets and it is easy to see why the prince is so reliant on him.’

Certainly there was no clearer indication of that dependence than when Charles put Fawcett – the man who squeezed his toothpaste for him after he broke his arm playing polo in 1990 – in charge of his beloved Dumfries House, the Palladian mansion which he saved for the nation.

Prince Charles gambled to secure the necessary fundraising for this costly restoration.

Fawcett’s role in turning the historic Scottish house into a busy venue for weddings and conferences, while employing as many local people as possible, was crucial. He was present three to four days per week from the start. ‘It was the next best thing to having the Prince of Wales do the job himself,’ one figure from those days recalled.

Using the same silky skills he once used to sell off unwanted royal gifts from foreign dignitaries on the prince’s behalf (a practice which led to him being nicknamed ‘Fawcett the fence’), he was the vital link between the prince and wealthy donors.

Even though he came from humble origins, he excelled at convincing the powerful and wealthy to feel that their needs were normal.

Then, they opened their wallets in return.

‘Michael was not just securing the money… he was also the impresario arranging all the extravagant events where the pampered guests would get out their chequebooks,’ says a former aide. ‘He’s persuasive in a very charming manner.’

However, this is also where the seeds of his ruin were planted.

Image was crucial, hence those polished loafers, the silk pochette he wore in his breast pocket, and the way he liked to touch his shirt cuffs and stand with hands clasped behind his back – an affectation he copied from the prince.

However, it was an amazing rise for someone who had worked in Jermyn Street menswear shops on Saturdays (where he used to get discounted clothing).

Few below-stairs staff members at Buckingham Palace can remember Michael David Fawcett’s 1981 arrival. He came straight out of catering college to start work as one of the Queen’s footmen, wearing a polyester pullover. These sweaters were later a Fawcett fart. When a new police bodyguard arrived in the mid-1990s, he sniggered: ‘You’re a walking fire risk, dear.’

Former staff remember him as a ‘Billy Liar’ figure who embellished a modest background, claiming he was the son of a wealthy accountant. At one point he grandly styled himself ‘Buxton-Fawcett’ – Buxton was his mother’s maiden name – but fellow staff were unimpressed and took to addressing him as ‘Sir Michael’.

Taken under the patronage of the Queen Mother’s staff at Clarence House, he was a fast learner and rose to become sergeant footman. This gave him authority over the very people who had been mocking him – and also brought him to the notice of the Prince of Wales, who invited him to become his assistant valet.

Fawcett was there when the newlyweds Charles & Diana established their home at Kensington Palace. Fawcett was only one year older than Diana. However, their friendship didn’t last. As the royal marriage disintegrated, Fawcett was firmly on Charles’s team.

Diana altered the locks in her marital apartment when Charles and Diana separated in 1992.

In the years that followed, Fawcett’s influence grew and he was promoted from valet to personal assistant. He became increasingly bossy and was eventually reprimanded by other staff members. Fawcett resigned – only to be reinstated after Camilla intervened on his behalf.

Fawcett was forced to resign five years later after an internal investigation found that he had violated regulations and accepted gifts Charles didn’t want. Crucially, the investigation cleared him of any financial wrongdoing, and he was soon back at the prince’s side.

His emotional intelligence, attention to detail and ability to override everything if he thought it was in the prince’s interests endeared him to both Charles and Camilla… but even their patience has now been exhausted. ‘Michael became too high maintenance,’ says one courtier.

This is expected to be the hardest parting for Prince Charles since his split from Princess Diana. It may, however, ensure that – as king – his reign will not be tarnished by a man whose capacity for trouble was simply no longer worth his support.