Battle Royal

GSTAAD—It seems to be open season on royals, starting with Prince Andrew and the charges against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a graduate of the Jeffrey Epstein finishing school. I’ve met Andrew a couple of times, but he wouldn’t know me from Adam. I’ve never met anyone who has had anything to do with Epstein except for Ghislaine Maxwell, who has problems of her own just now. Like everyone else, however, I have my opinions about this motley crew, and the word blackmail keeps looming. Lawyers have already killed some of my columns on this subject these past three years alone, so I better lay off the subject. What I am certain of I cannot publish, so I will write only what I am not cocksure about, and that is that the prince is a fool but no rapist.

Which brings me to ex-king Constantine of Greece, a friend of mine. An otherwise serious Athenian daily recently produced an extraordinary article asserting that, in 1976, the ex-king plotted to assassinate the then prime minister, Constantine Karamanlis. Let’s take it from the top: On April 21, 1967, a coup organized by three army officers overthrew the government and established a de facto dictatorship. The young king swore in the plotters after extracting certain assurances that the takeover would be brief and there would be no bloodshed. The king insisted that a civilian judge would head the government. On Nov. 13 of the same year, the young king attempted a countercoup once he realized the colonels had no intention of reverting to a democratic government. The countercoup was unsuccessful and he left Greece with his pregnant young wife and two children.

In July 1974 the colonels collapsed after meddling in Cyprus. Ex-premier Karamanlis—who had voluntarily left the country a long time ago—was recalled from Paris after assuring the king that he would pave the way for the monarch’s return. Karamanlis did nothing of the sort, in fact he betrayed the king and called for a referendum in which the king was only permitted to speak a few words via film to state his case. Constantine has been an ex-king since 1974. Now we read that the king plotted to have Karamanlis murdered and that the “British secret services” have tapes to prove it.

I wrote my first book, The Greek Upheaval, in 1975, and one thing I can guarantee is that if the king plotted against Karamanlis, I am Delilah of Samson fame. One version of the pressure put on the king the night of the 1967 coup had the colonels threatening the monarch that they would harm his ADC, Col. Michael Arnaoutis. The king has told me they never did. Now the Athenian daily has the same Arnaoutis plotting to assassinate Karamanlis. Reading carefully between the lines, perhaps Arnaoutis might have said something to that effect in conversation with friends, but nowhere does the king enter such conversation, nor is he ever involved in such outrageous plots.

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