Socialist Worker

Royal scandal

by Judy Cox on what the latest revelations about the royals tell us
Issue No. 1826

THE ROYAL family are supposed to be role models for the rest of us. They are held up as examples of devotion to duty, and symbols of national unity and pride. We are expected to curtsey, bow and scrape before them. But the revelations after the collapse of the trial of butler Paul Burrell have exposed the reality.

The royal family live and act like the pampered rich, feuding and plotting against each other, and humiliating their servants. Princess Diana kept letters from the Duke of Edinburgh in which he threatened her and called her a 'trollop and a harlot'. Diana also made secret tapes in which a servant accuses a member of Prince Charles's staff of rape 12 years ago.

At the time Charles dismissed the claims as 'downstairs gossip', but the man was given a £38,000 payoff. A law firm inquiry said the rape allegations were handled 'lamentably', but no new inquiry was held. The servant also claimed to have witnessed an incident between a royal and a servant which, if disclosed, would cause 'irreparable damage' to the royals' reputation.

Diana made the tape and kept the letters as ammunition she could use against her ex-husband. She kept them in a wooden box she called 'the crown jewels'. The police were after the box when they searched Burrell's home in January last year, but the box was empty. Its contents are still out there somewhere. The aristocratic families at the heart of the new scandals are not loyal and dutiful - they are vicious, greedy and spiteful.

The Windsors

  • When South Sea Islanders gave Charles a precious carved table he told his butler he could burn it.
  • Charles's valet is known as 'Fawcett the Fence' because he flogs off gifts given to the royals. Charles coins an extra £100,000 a year this way. This is on top of the £7 million he gets from the Duchy of Cornwall.
  • During a palace lunch a coffee pot attachment fell into the Queen Mum's lap, setting fire to her napkin. Instead of helping, Princess Margaret fell about laughing and shouted, 'Look Lillibet! Mummy's on fire.'

The Spencers

  • Diana's brother shed crocodile tears at her funeral. But when Diana wanted a refuge he refused to let her rent a cottage on the Althorp Estate.
  • Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, hurled obscene racist abuse at her daughter for dating Muslim men. They never spoke again.
  • Diana's will said some £5 million of her £20 million estate should be given to her 17 godchildren.

Diana's sisters decided to give them a 'memento' each because the children weren't 'exactly paupers'. Like all aristocrats the royals treat their employees with contempt, demanding constant attention and grovelling deference. They were even prepared to let their loyal butler get sent down for stealing Princess Diana's things even though they knew he was innocent. Burrell reported that during a three-hour meeting with the queen he had to stand, shifting his weight from foot to foot.

He also had to stand when he was 'invited' to watch TV with the royals. Diana sent her butler out to buy 'top shelf' pornography for 14 year old Prince William. She didn't donate her old clothes to charity - she sold them to charity shops for 'pink grannies' - her name for £50 notes.

Pro-monarchy papers are calling this the royals' worst ever crisis. One courtier told the press, 'More will come out. It's a complete fucking mess. And its about as likely to be over by Christmas as was the First World War.' Next month Harold Brown, butler to the Waleses and Princess Margaret, will be tried for theft.

The royal family sum up everything that is rotten in society. They were born into luxury, with huge personal fortunes plus the millions they are paid from the civil list.

They are a symbol of the very rich who rule over the rest of us. That is why socialists have always argued against the monarchy, even at times when it was unpopular to do so. Now millions can see that the royals are themselves the best possible argument for republicanism, and would cheer to see the back of the lot of them.

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Article information

Sat 16 Nov 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1826
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