The truth about Prince Charles

The Asian Age - - Edit - By ar­range­ment with the Spec­ta­tor

At din­ner the other night a friend won­dered what came first, so­cial climb­ing or name- drop­ping? It’s ob­vi­ously a very silly ques­tion, and we all had a laugh about it. “As Achilles told me in his tent the other evening, He­len al­ways fan­cied him and Menelaus didn’t like it a bit.” Or, “I’m rather tired of lis­ten­ing to Claudius com­plain­ing that Agrip­pina doesn’t hold a can­dle to Mes­salina in the sack.” We played that game for a while and then I dropped the name of High­grove, and the first time the Queen was seen in pub­lic with Camilla. I be­gan to de­scribe the out­door lunch and my guests started to drift off. No, it’s true, I was there, I told them. Ac­tu­ally, we were dis­cussing the new Tom Bower opus on Prince Charles and won­der­ing how much of it is true. I know Tom Bower slightly, and was in­ter­viewed at length by him for the hatchet job he did on Con­rad Black. ( I was de­lighted by the hatchet job he did on the phoney Mo­hammed Fayed.) The rea­son I brought up the lunch was that it’s men­tioned in his new book.

Ac­cord­ing to Bower, the Queen sim­ply would not meet Camilla at first. Then, in the sum­mer of 2000, Prince Charles gave a lunch at High­grove for King Con­stan­tine’s 60th birth­day, and that’s where yours truly comes in. The in­vi­ta­tion was stan­dard but I was led to un­der­stand that de­tails of the lunch should not ap­pear in my next col­umn. The King of Greece is a very nice man and a very good friend. He put it to me very gen­tly. Se­cu­rity was tight as hell and my driver was very im­pressed. He was used to bring­ing me home from night­clubs in a very dif­fer­ent state from my present one. He had a prob­lem find­ing High­grove as the house wasn’t listed un­der Soho clubs.

I re­mem­ber say­ing hi to Camilla, who was act­ing as host­ess, and see­ing the Queen and notic­ing how tiny she is. Then we sat down to lunch and be­gan to down a very fine wine. It was hot, the sun was shin­ing, ev­ery­one was in a very good mood, and I be­haved my­self un­til it was time to be given a tour of the house by Prince Charles and to in­spect his plants. I don’t know who was faster off the mark, the man who de­signed the Ti­tanic and was first on a lifeboat, or the poor lit­tle Greek boy off to Bad­minton for some cricket.

The radar about the lunch was bleep­ing fran­ti­cally, but the hacks had been un­able to in­fil­trate. My friend John O’Sul­li­van and I had din­ner and he was laugh­ing over the fact that I was the only hack present but sworn to se­crecy. Now here’s the gist of it: Camilla and the Queen were at dif­fer­ent ta­bles and as far as I know there was no con­tact. What took place be­fore or af­ter I haven’t a clue.

When Tom came to New York and in­ter­viewed me about Lord and Lady Black, I told him about an in­ci­dent when Con­rad was ex­tremely an­gry with me for some­thing I had writ­ten about Is­rael. Boris John­son, the ed­i­tor at the time, re­fused to fire me. That’s when I re­ceived a call from Lady Black. I was told to wait on the line — but the mo­ment she came on I said to her in a rather ag­gres­sive man­ner that only the ed­i­tor could fire me, and then I hung up. She didn’t get a word in edge­ways, as they say.

She rang back her­self, and when I an­swered she said, “Silly boy, all I wanted to do was to in­vite you to tea,” which she did. I told this story to Tom Bower, but it came out rather dif­fer­ently in print. I can’t re­mem­ber the de­tails but his ver­sion hinted that Bar­bara Black had high- hat­ted me, if you know what I mean. In­stead of her try­ing to make peace be­tween her hub­bie and me — the Blacks and I have al­ways been good friends — she was por­trayed as hav­ing tried to make trou­ble, the ex­act op­po­site.

So, are the de­tails of Prince Charles’ self- in­dul­gence — trav­el­ling with his own pictures and fur­ni­ture, hav­ing his Mar­ti­nis trans­ported to Chatsworth — to be be­lieved, or are they as false as those hor­rid de­tails about the Blacks? Be­ing a poor lit­tle Greek boy I can only judge from what I know, so per­haps the heir to the throne is not as self- in­dul­gent as Bower makes him out to be.

But let’s have a bit more name­drop­ping. Now that Larry Kud­low is the new eco­nomic tsar in Amer­ica, my stock must be on the rise. There is no nicer man in the world than Larry Kud­low, and no more knowl­edgable and saga­cious an econ­o­mist. Larry has suf­fered in his life, re­made it, and is as po­lite and gra­cious to small- timers as he is to big shots. Last time we met we had a cig­gie out­side a ho­tel and he told me that Don­ald Trump was go­ing to win the elec­tion that com­ing week. I wish him all the luck; here’s a man who has been through the mill and de­serves it.

And to top it all off, guess where the lit­tle rocket man and the Don­ald will meet and ne­go­ti­ate not to blow the world up? I got it straight from the horse’s mouth: John Map­pin. In Kaza­khstan, that’s where, and you read it here first.


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