Many people in the U.K. believe that Prince Charles is not fit to be King. In the U.K.’s constitutional democracy, Queen Elizabeth is nominally the head of state, a role that she has fulfilled with grace since 1953. Even those who view the monarchy as an anachronistic institution have a grudging respect for the Queen, but the same cannot be said of her heir Prince Charles. The monarch is supposed to remain above politics, something that Prince Charles seems unable to do.
As reported in the Guardian earlier this year, the so-called “Black Spider Memos” showed that Charles has regularly lobbied government ministers over issues that many would argue he directly benefited from. It seems that “Prince Charles filled ministers’ pigeon-holes with idiosyncratic lobbying letters covering an astonishing array of issues.” Charles has always been seen as slightly eccentric by the British public, and as a result, many believe that he is unfit to be King. Earlier this year, the Spectator echoed the views of many when they called on Prince Charles to renounce his place in the line of succession before the 90-year-old Queen dies. If Charles were to renounce his claim on the throne his much more popular son, Prince William, would become King when the current Queen dies.
17. Princess Diana's accidental death was a ploy by the monarchy and Queen Mother so Prince Charles could remarry pic.twitter.com/noIYEaoYEY— liz (@liamverse) August 11, 2016
Sadly for Queen Elizabeth, her husband Prince Phillip has often been criticized for public gaffes, but it is her sons Prince Charles and Prince Andrew who have most often brought the monarchy into disrepute. Prince Andrew’s marriage to, and divorce from Sarah Ferguson arguably began a series of British Royal scandals back in 1992 when pictures hit the press of a topless princess having her toes sucked by American financier John Bryan as her toddler daughter Princess Eugenie looked on.
The Queen was not amused and effectively banished Ferguson from London. As was widely reported last year, including by the Daily Record, Prince Andrew was tied up in a “sex-slave” scandal. It was claimed that the Prince had been involved in an orgy with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and eight underage girls.
If the Queen was hoping that Prince Andrew’s indiscretions were to be the end of embarrassing royal revelations, she was to be disappointed. It was Prince Charles, her heir, who was to prove the biggest embarrassment. When Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 it was portrayed as a “fairytale” wedding, a nursery school teacher swept off her feet by a romantic Prince Charming. Of course it was all hogwash, Lady Diana came from aristocratic stock and one of the wealthiest families in Britain.
The ink was barely dry on their marriage certificate before rumors began to circulate that theirs was a loveless marriage and that Princess Diana was deeply unhappy. The Princess had widely publicized battles with anorexia and bulimia and rumors of affairs with a bodyguard and most famously with Dodi Al-Fayed. Prince Charles was reportedly infatuated with Camilla Parker-Bowles who he married after the Princess’s death.
It is his affair with Parker-Bowles that has led to the latest claims of royal skullduggery. The Daily Mail claims that Prince Charles paid over £1.5 million [$2 million] to Camilla’s sister, Annabel Elliot, in an effort to keep his affair hidden from Diana. The annual accounts of the Duchy of Cornwall, which provides Charles with an income of around $30 million a year, reveal it has paid Elliott £1.5 million since 2005.
The money has been paid to Elliott for “goods and services” linked to the refurbishment of properties owned by Prince Charles. As reported by Starts At 60 the latest speculation has arisen after it was revealed that Charles rarely commissions anyone other than Annabel Elliot to work on properties he owns. Of course many would argue that the Prince can pay whoever he chooses to work for him but others argue that this reveals cronyism at best and bribery at worst. The question that these revelations throw up is did Prince Charles promise Elliott a series of lucrative contracts in order to buy her silence over his affair with her sister.
Prince Charles would have been desperate to keep an affair with Parker-Bowles quiet. The wildly popular Princess Diana was very much the “people’s princess” and claims that Prince Charles was cheating on her would have been deeply damaging to Charles and the royal family. If claims that Charles payed Annabel “hush money” are true it will be another huge blow to him personally and to the British monarchy.
Many Britons would like to see the rights and privileges conferred on the royal family by accident of birth come to an end when Queen Elizabeth dies. Even among those who support the royal family many want to see Prince William rather than Charles as the next King. In these circumstances the last thing that Prince Charles needs is to be involved in more royal scandal.
[Photo by KGC-55/STAR MAX/IPx/AP]