CJ Sims' bank, Coutts, called in the receiver despite the fact that the company was already in adjudication over the money owed at Bagshot Park, Surrey.

A spokesperson for Coutts said Sims had asked the bank to call in the receiver and stressed that it was not the bank's decision. However, sources at Sims denied this. Coutts, which also holds the account of the Queen, refused to confirm or deny that the Wessexes are also account-holders at the bank.

Despite a booming construction economy, Sims is one of a number of small contractors that have failed in recent weeks.

You are almost expected to lose money on a project like this

QS Bidder on a Royal Scheme

Malcolm Davies, manager with the Bank of Ireland construction division, which looks after the accounts of a number of small contractors and specialists, said that even though the market was healthy, tender prices had not risen.