LONDON, Nov. 2, 2009 -- Two yeomen warders at the Tower of London have been suspended while a third is under investigation for allegations of harassment against the first-ever female warder in the Tower's 1,000-year history.
Moira Cameron, who made history in July 2007 when she became London's first female Beefeater or yeoman warder, is the target of the alleged bullying.
A statement from the Tower on Monday confirmed the suspensions. "We take such allegations very seriously and our formal harassment policy makes it clear that this is totally unacceptable," according to the statement. "We believe everyone is entitled to work in an environment free from any form of harassment, a principle that we expect all our staff to value and uphold."
The probe of the charges was launched the weekend of October 24-25 and is expected to continue another two to three weeks.
While the Tower has not confirmed the exact forms of harassment under investigation, several U.K. news sources, including Sky News and the Sun, have reported that Cameron's uniform was vandalized, she received "harassing notes" in her locker, and her entry in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia was tampered with.
Ruth Howlett, a Tower spokesman, told ABC News that these stories were "unfounded," and "come from a source other than the Tower."
"The warders do not have lockers," she stated.
A statement from the Scotland Yard has, however, confirmed that "a 56-year-old man received a caution under the Communications Act 2003 on Tuesday October 20, 2009, following an investigation by officers from Tower Hamlets. The matter related to inappropriate use of the Internet."
Upset in a 'Close-Knit Community'
The recent harassment allegations have upset the Tower's community.
"The Tower of London is a close-knit community and, understandably, this is a difficult time for us all," the Tower reported in its official statement.
All warders, who wear traditional navy blue and red Tudor uniforms and live at the Tower, are required to complete at least 22 years of non-commissioned time in the armed forces before qualifying for the job.
Cameron, a 44-year-old from Argyll, Scotland, joined the British army at age 20 and served in Northern Ireland and Cyprus before beating five other male applicants for the job.
Though she has called her work "magical," and has said "It's just a wonderful job and I'm very, very lucky to have it," she has also admitted that not everyone welcomes her.
"I had one chap at the gate one day who said he was completely and utterly against me doing the job. I said to him: 'I would like to thank you for dismissing my 22 years' service in Her Majesty's Armed Forces'."
Yeomen warders have guarded the tower since their appointment by Henry VII in 1485. Their nickname, Beefeaters, is said to derive from the daily rations of meat they used to receive in medieval times.
Beefeaters' roles today are mostly ceremonial and include guarding the Tower and its crown jewels, and welcoming and guiding tourists.
Including Cameron, there are 35 warders currently employed at the Tower.
The tower has served various uses over the years including royal palace, prison and fortress. Today it is operated by the non-profit Historic Royal Palaces and receives no funding from the U.K. government. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.