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#AceDailyNews says according to MailOnline News Report: Jonathan Dimbleby comes under fire after launching defence of Prince Charles over cash-for-honours
Prince Charles’s biographer Jonathan Dimbleby came under fire yesterday after launching an impassioned defence of him over the cash-for-honours scandal.
Barely challenged in a BBC interview, the long-time friend and confidant appeared to play down the furore over allegations that an official at one of the prince’s charities had offered to help a Saudi billionaire get a knighthood and British citizenship in exchange for ‘generous’ donations.
Mr Dimbleby, 77, was later accused of sycophancy and of making an ‘insulting’ comparison between the scandal and the Prime Minister’s false claim that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had failed to prosecute paedophile Jimmy Savile.
The journalist launched his attempted defence of Charles after Scotland Yard announced it was investigating claims that the prince’s former aide Michael Fawcett allegedly offered to help Saudi tycoon Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz upgrade his honorary CBE to a knighthood – and to support his application for British citizenship – in exchange for ‘generous’ donations to Charles’s charitable foundation.
Royal insiders have denied the heir to the throne had any knowledge of the alleged deal, and said he would be willing to speak to police and help their inquiry.
Mr Dimbleby said he found media coverage of the scandal ‘frankly bizarre’. He dismissed coverage that claimed the police investigation was a ‘bombshell’ for the Royal Family as a cynical attempt to sell newspapers.
Prince Charles biographer compares honours scandal to Savile row
He told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it’s extraordinarily unlikely that he knew. I think if he had known he would have immediately taken action about it.
‘If there has been some scam, some breaking of the law, you honestly think that he would have been party to that? It beggars belief.’
Mr Dimbleby’s friendship with Charles goes back decades.
He presented the 1994 documentary in which the prince admitted to adultery during his marriage to Princess Diana.
During his six-minute interview yesterday, conducted by Today presenter Nick Robinson, Mr Dimbleby was allowed to insist that Charles would not have known about Mr Fawcett’s alleged dealings with Mr Mahfouz.
He heaped praise on the prince’s ‘very important work’ with his charities. But he then said that the heir to the throne had no direct responsibility for them, and that their day-to-day work was handled entirely by trustees and officials.
Mr Dimbleby scoffed at the idea that Mr Fawcett – Charles’s former valet and previously one of the most powerful figures in his court – would have told him about any alleged offer to help Mr Mahfouz with his citizenship or a knighthood and likened the case to Boris Johnson’s slur against Sir Keir, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, over Savile.
‘[Sir Keir] was effectively the chief executive of a large organisation,’ he said. ‘The Prince of Wales is not in that position, he is someone outside the organisation who cares and believes in its work, but is not party to its day-to-day operation.’
He attacked the media – including the Daily Mail – for reporting that news of the Scotland Yard probe broke only 48 hours after Prince Andrew’s out-of-court settlement with his sex abuse accuser Virginia Roberts was revealed.
Prince Charles makes first appearance since cash-for-honours probe
Mr Dimbleby said: ‘It seems to me bizarre that we should be giving it such attention. The idea that this is some sort of annus horribilis because it’s linked to his brother’s case – there’s no link at all.’
Listeners voice their incredulity at the interview, with several accusing Mr Dimbleby of sycophancy and of angling for his own knighthood.
Former Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker said: ‘Whenever Charles is in a corner, Jonathan Dimbleby is wheeled out. Arise Sir Jonathan.’ He told the Mail that it was ‘insulting’ to compare Charles’s position to the Jimmy Savile slur against Sir Keir.
Charles, 73, appeared relaxed yesterday as he hosted a ceremony at St James’s Palace to present Queen’s Anniversary Prizes to universities and colleges.
Clarence House has repeatedly said he had ‘no knowledge’ of the cash-for-honours allegations. Mr Fawcett resigned from his £95,000-a-year role as chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation over the furore. Mr Mahfouz, who is thought to have donated at least £1.5million to royal charities, denies wrongdoing.
#AceNewsDesk report …………..Published: Feb.18: 2022:
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