What do you see when you look at this photograph (left) of Prince Charles and Jimmy Savile? A lot of people think that the close friendship Prince Charles had with Jimmy Savile is evidence of a paedophile network, fueled by Jimmy ‘The Fixer’, with entrails running through the upper echelons of British society. It’s certainly an intriguing proposition. Prince Charles was apparently mentored by Lord Mountbatten whose older brother George apparently had a huge collection of paedophilic and zoophilic pornography. Although there seems to be no evidence for the latter – just blog after blog repeating the statement without question. But one thing is for sure – Jimmy Savile did get very close to Prince Charles. Charles asked Savile for advice before selecting Sir Christopher Airy as his private secretary in 1990. Savile, a Radio 1 DJ, actually interviewed Airy on behalf of Charles. Charles even took advice from Savile on his doomed marriage to Diana.
But Savile weaseled his way into many powerful people’s lives. It doesn’t prove the existence of a paedophile network by itself. What it does prove is that Prince Charles is a poor judge of character. Many people who met Savile knew he was scum. A lot of those people were powerless to do anything about it – some tried, but no one listened to them. A lot of those who did have the power, like Terry Wogan and many of his peers, chose to stay quiet, believing it was someone else’s job to stop the abuse. Many others who met Savile thought he was just a harmless eccentric – I think Prince Charles falls in to the latter category.
It’s a neat idea that MI5, who vetted thousands of staff at the BBC in the 1970’s and 80’s (possibly including Savile, but we don’t know that), also vet people before they are allowed near the Royal Family, and so must have known of Savile’s abusing behaviour and decided it was compatible with Charles and his family’s preferences. But were MI5 competent? And what were they looking for in their vetting? Their activities at Kincora, as discussed by Colin Wallace, show they don’t see child abuse as something to be stopped, but rather an opportunity to control events and people. And their vetting of BBC staff seemed to be more about keeping pro-republicans like Michael Rosen out.
For me, the picture of Prince Charles and Jimmy Savile begs this question: why is Prince Charles, a man shown to be a poor judge of character (see also Bishop Peter Ball), a man who is not elected, and a man who resists all forms of transparency, allowed to influence government and its departments by use of the undemocratic Royal Veto and through secretive meetings with the Prime Minister and his ministers, and by planting his staff in their departments of state?