At a recent lunch hosted by Oldie magazine, the Duchess of Cornwall was in an admirably resilient mood.
“The Duke of Edinburgh’s philosophy was clear,” explained Camilla. ‘Look up and pay attention, say less, do more – and get on with the work.’ And that’s exactly what I intend to do.’
We can only imagine what the outspoken Philip might have said about his eldest son’s latest folly: the news that Charles has accepted £1million for his charity from the family of Osama bin Laden, the most destructive terrorist to ever live .
Camilla should adopt Philip’s no-nonsense approach and provide her husband with good entertainment. For example, she might say, “What a bloody fool you’ve been – again. They seem to be doing everything they can to bring the monarchy into disrepute. You can be a bloody idiot sometimes, Charles.”
Because apparently the heir to the throne doesn’t listen to anyone. According to the Sunday Times, which unveiled the £1million gift from two of Osama bin Laden’s half-brothers in 2013, one of his own household told him his acceptance would provoke national outrage if the news got to the media . And it has.
He just has appalling judgment in such matters combined with a kind of stubborn arrogance. It’s as if he believes that because of his great importance, he’s somehow exempt from the norms that govern the rest of us
Another adviser reportedly demanded that Prince Charles return the money, warning that he would suffer serious reputational damage if his name appeared in the same sentence as the terrorist responsible for the killing of 67 Britons, along with thousands by Americans and others. on that terrible day, September 11, 2001.
But Charles sailed on in a bone-headed fashion when he unwisely accepted a €1m holdall from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani – a former Prime Minister of Qatar and not exactly the most admirable man to walk the earth is Face of the Earth – during a one-on-one at Clarence House.
This money, like the gift from the Bin Laden family, was earmarked for the Prince of Wales’ Charity Fund. There is absolutely no indication that the prince is venal or corrupt in any way.
He just has appalling judgment in such matters combined with a kind of stubborn arrogance. It’s as if he believes that because of his great importance, he’s somehow exempt from the norms that govern the rest of us.
The opposite is the case. We expect our next king to set an example of common sense for us – to be impeccable in his conduct, just as his mother, the queen, was throughout her long reign.
If you asked 100 people down at the Dog and Duck if they thought the prince should have accepted a gift from the family of a deadly terrorist (who was rightfully dispatched by American special forces in 2011), I bet almost all of them would “Say no.
Would Charles accept a huge donation from the descendants of Heinrich Himmler or Adolf Eichmann if they were able to make one? I can’t imagine that even he would be so badly advised.
We can only imagine what the outspoken Philip might have said about his eldest son’s latest folly: the news that Charles has accepted £1million for his charity from the family of Osama bin Laden, the most destructive terrorist to ever live
So why take £1million from the Bin Laden family? If anything, accepting money from the fairly distant relatives of monsters whose sins were committed 80 years ago would be less offensive than from the half-brothers of an evil terrorist who cast such a shadow on our own time. It makes little or no difference that the bin Laden family long ago disowned their murderous descendants.
I’m afraid – a monarchist as I am and an admirer of Prince Charles in many ways – that I almost despair at his stupidity. I can’t understand how a decent and intelligent man could do something like that wrong.
It is clear that his charity has led him astray. Last year it was alleged that Michael Fawcett, his closest confidante, offered to help a Saudi billionaire knight in exchange for generous donations to the Prince’s Foundation, of which Fawcett was the executive director. There is no indication that Charles knew about it. The police are still investigating the matter.
At the very least, the prince must show that his charitable purposes will be run more seriously and transparently in the future and that travel bags full of high-denomination euro notes or large gifts will no longer change hands with the family of a notorious mass murderer.
And with the Duke of Edinburgh no longer with us, it really falls to the outspoken Camilla to give her husband a good dressing – and for the prince to take a closer look than he’s used to.
My concern is that Charles may have been guilty of other stupid things in the past that have not yet come to light, and that when they do, there will be even more damaging revelations.
Careless conduct by the prince, if repeated, is bound to weaken the monarchy. How frighteningly quickly the Queen’s precious legacy could unravel.