PRINCE Charles is today a key part of a small inner circle of Royal Family members seeking ‘a way forward’ through the Harry and Meghan crisis.
This is nothing new. After The Queen’s infamous annus horribilis in 1992 – partly caused, let’s not forget, by his own shenanigans – Charles joined with his parents and Prince Andrew (yes, him!) in a caucus titled The Way Forward to attempt to save the Monarchy.
Judge for yourselves how well that turned out considering the current scenario in which Andrew has been stepped down from Royal duties and even Charles’ son (let’s give that the benefit of very considerable doubt) seems on the verge of quitting.
Charles sees his own task as keeping the uneasy ship afloat long enough for him to take to the throne – a succession that although Brits like to argue s legally set in stone.
But how sound is the judgement of Charles the man who would be King?
The evidence suggests he is the very last person either to be advising significant others or to take power himself.
Meat on the bones of the incredible lack of discernment shown by the Prince of Wales over the decades is supplied by Norman Baker, the former Liberal Democrat MP and government minister, in his challenging book And What Do You do?
Consider his relationships with two paedophiles, both of whom offered marital advice to Charles and Diana at the future King’s behest.
The evidence Baker uncovers shows that the ‘misjudgements’ of Charles actually go beyond the mistakes made by Andrew whom he has recently booted out of Buckingham Palace.
For, whilst as far as we are aware Andrew did end his relationship with American paedophile Jeffrey Epstein after his ridiculous four-day visit and public stroll, Charles remained stubborn and unmoved in his support for both Sir Jimmy Savile and Peter Ball beyond the last in Savile’s case and only when the latter was sent to prison.
Baker seeks to explain: ‘Part of the problem has been Charles’ unwillingness ever to listen to advice which displeases him, and just like the mediaeval courts of old, those who proffer it tend to find themselves on the way out. Those who remain will tend to tell him what he wants to hear’.
That is a summary that dovetails with what other commentators with less of a Republican axe to grind than Baker have also concluded.
Baker points out regarding Savile, who has since his death been revealed as a child abuser supreme: ‘There were mutterings about Savile’s disgusting behaviour as far backs as the 1980s when he was quietly dropped by British Rail. He had headed up a long-running series of successful television adverts for the state-owned operator (this is the age of the train), but then BR heard rumours that Savile was engaged in necrophiliac activities at the morgue at Stoke Mandeville hospital and he was axed’.
I’d respectfully suggest that allegations of having sex with dead bodies would be a red flag to all but those with a complete lack of moral judgement!
Savile ‘enjoyed almost unparalleled access to Clarence House and to Prince Charles’, adds Baker, who quotes Sarah Goodall, Lady Clerk to the Prince, as confirming Savile acted as a ‘sort of marriage guidance counsellor to Charles and Diana’.
Journalist Catherine Mayer in her book Charles: The Heart of a King reveals Charles sometimes asked Savile to read his speeches and offer comments.
Although concerns were raised by staff in the Royal household and Savile was by this time sidelined also from Children in Need, Charles still wrote off letters from members of the public making accusations about Savile as being mad or jealous.
On Savile’s 80th birthday, Charles wrote to him: ‘Nobody will ever know what you have done for this country Jimmy’.
Unfortunately we now do – at least in part – and it reflects appallingly on the future King.
There was still time for Charles and Camilla to lead tributes to Savile after he passed away – although they have been strangely quiet on the subject since.
It was Savile, Baker notes, who opened Royal doors for Ball, the now disgraced late Bishop of Lewes.
Again Charles ignored enough red flags to warn off the most gullible of commoners.
In 1993 the Bishop admitted gross indecency when he persuaded 17-year-old Neil Todd to pray naked with him and whipped him so he would ‘bear the marks’ of his faith.
Instead of supporting the victim as almost everyone else would have done, it was all too clear where Charles’ loyalty laid with these words: ‘I wish I could do more. I feel so desperately strongly about the monstrous wrongs that have done to you and the way you have been treated’. Even The Queen also offered her support.
Ball continued to be on close terms with Princess Margaret and The Queen Mother, was invited to preach at Sandringham and gave communion at Highgrove.
And when he wrote to Charles saying he was still being harassed by Todd who was threatening to say more, Charles wrote to the bishop: ‘I can’t bear it that the frightful terrifying man is on the loose again….I was visiting the Vicar….and we were enthusing about you and your brother and he then told me that this ghastly man was up to his dastardly tricks again. I’ll see off this horrid man if he tries anything again.’
The independent public inquiry into child abuse was told Todd later committed suicide and concluded that Charles had been ‘misguided’.
It was also revealed that Ball became another paedophile to offer marital advice to Charles and Diana.
He then attended the wedding of Charles and Camilla and delivered the address at the funeral of Camilla’s father the following year. Charles also arranged for Ball to live in a Duchy property in Somerset from 1997 to 2011.
In 2015 Ball was convicted of sexual offences against 18 young men and handed a 32-month prison sentence.
Charles then said that, after his friend had been convicted, he ceased contact.
Can the nation rely on him failing to come to his senses that late in the day?