Sir Nicholas Soames and other Tory MPs demand apology from Tom Watson over Leon Brittan ‘lies’
Soames considers Prince Charles his best friend and was his equerry from 1970 to 1972. Charles was best man at his wedding to the heiress Catherine Weatherall in 1981.
Prince Charles’ friend Nicholas Soames threatened Diana six months before her death and warned her to stop meddling in a controversy over landmines, the inquest heard yesterday.
MP Nicholas Soames denies working at four firms affects his local duty …security company AEGIS Defence Services Limited, finance companies MMC Group and Intrepid Capital Partners, and the renewable energy firm Aggregated Micro Power Limited.
The CEO of SERCO is Cameron’s mate, fellow Old Etonian Rupert Soames, brother of Tory MP and Cameron loyalist Nicholas Soames.
SENIOR Tory Nicholas Soames will be accused of being a serial sex pest in a new book about female MPs.At least six women MPs have complained about the grandson of Winston Churchill and close pal of Prince Charles, claiming he repeatedly made crude and vulgar comments.
“The name of Nicholas Soames came up again and again when we talked to women MPs
Princess Diana, in intimate confessions recorded on video by her voice coach, described her sex life with Prince Charles as “odd, very odd”.
Spring MP quit as Parliamentary secretary to Ulster chief Sir Patrick Mayhewafter his steamy session with a Sunday school teacher and a male friend was revealed last April.
The embarrassment was increased when it was revealed he had made insulting remarks about the sex life of John Major and members of the Royal Family.
Paedophile Ban Call: Patrick Mayhew turned down the demand.
During this time, PIE member Dr Morris Fraser was convicted of abusing children in the United States. “Those who were present at the GMC hearing, including Patrick Mayhew, need to explain why they did not consider the US conviction as well,” said Meehan. “It’s interesting that so many important people were present at his hearings.”
Convicted child rapist and PIE member Peter Rightonwas allowed to live at the Thornham Magna estate of former diplomat, Lord Henniker in Suffolk, where children from Islington continued to be taken, apparently until his death;
(Peter Righton’s friend Charles Napier is half-brother to John Whittingdale and Charles Napier is related to paedophile Sir Peter Hayman’s wife.
Charles Napier and Richard Alston
Brothers PIE member Charles Napier and John Whittingdale MP
Brothers Richard Alston and formerdiplomat Robert Alston
Peter Righton, Charles Napier and Richard Alston
Richard Alston invited the 11 yr-old boy up to the flat he shared with his partner, Peter Righton.
Southwark Crown Court in London heard that Alston began molesting the youngster after he fell off a climbing frame in the play area of the school, under the pretence of comforting him.
Other allegations state that Alston and Righton – sometimes in the presence of their friend Charles Napier – would play pornographic films at their flat and watch the youngster’s reaction, occasionally asking him to perform sex acts on them as he did so.
also told jurors that he had introduced other boys to Alston and Righton.
Mr Clement asked if he went to the flat alone.
The witness replied: “I wasn’t always alone, no, I introduced other boys to Peter and Richard, they kept asking if I knew any friends.”
When he was 16 he confronted Righton about what he had been subjected to, jurors were told.
Mr Clement said: “Peter Righton dismissed this complaint and told him he had connections to powerful people, that the boy had no evidence and that no-one would believe him.
Charles Napier’s cousin Rosemary Eardley Blomefield was married to paedophile diplomat Sir Peter Hayman.
PIE member Sir Peter Hayman was outed as a paedophile in the House of Commons after being let off with a police caution despite being found with a trove of extreme pornographic images which he shared with other child abusers.
Sir Peter Hayman also had links to the controversial Paedophile Information Exchange PIE which campaigned for sex with children to be legalised.
Weinberger was indicted on several felony charges of lying to the FBI stemming from the investigations into the Iran/Contra Affair, though in 1992 he was given an official pardon by President George H W Bush.
After leaving the Pentagon, Weinberger became publisher and chairman of Forbes magazine, where over the next decade he wrote frequently on defence and national security issues.
Weinberger was a trustee of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and was co-chairman of the Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowships Foundation.
Harvey Proctor was lifelong friends with an ardent Republican supporter, Wylma Wayne –
They went to several fundraising events together.
Wylma Wayne was a valued friend of Lady Sarah Churchill.
Her art gallery specialised in Rembrandt etchings and Churchill paintings. She visited Belvoir and Proctor buried her ashes there.
Harvey Proctor spent a wonderful evening at the American embassy in Grosvenor Square on the night of Reagan’s first presidential victory. (1980)
From Proctor’s memoir:
Another friend who visited Belvoir was Wylma Wayne, Terry’s art dealer friend. She had continually featured in my life as a friend.
She lived at times in Arlington House near to one of the Rutland’s historic houses, and the Ritz Hotel.
At other times, Wylma lived in Catherine Place, Victoria, by the other side of Buckingham Palace. When she died, all her belongings were taken swiftly to the United States by her famliy, but not her remains.(?!)
A small group of us buried her on Thanksgiving Day in 2013 on the Belvoir estate
Lady Sarah was thrilled to tell Curtis that the very exclusive, Wilma Wayne Gallery, on Old Bond Street, had just sold one of his prints (War Child) for £10,000, which was an enormous amount, over 30 years ago, for a single print from a living artist, which also meant that the complete editions were selling for millions.
Later, Curtis went to the Wilma Wayne Gallery, and Wilma was delighted to tell Curtis that it was Elizabeth Taylor who purchased it for her art collection.
Lady Sarah, from time to time, would come back to the United States to Curtis’s studio where they would both hand sign their pencil signatures. They always did the signing and numbering together to make sure each edition was complete and authentic. Later, due to her increasing health problems, Curtis took some of the final editions he had just created, to England, so she could co-sign them. However, on his last visit, it took her a long time to sign, and so he left her a few final prints. Sadly, she passed away not long after. Sometime after her death, her sister, Lady Mary Soames, invited Curtis to tea at her home in London, where she gave Curtis the final few prints that Lady Sarah had managed to co-sign before she died. (Curtis still has those in his collection).
Some time later, Curtis was commissioned to create a painting of Queen Elizabeth II and was asked to take a portfolio of works to Buckingham Palace for the Queen to see. Knowing the Queen was a great admirer of Sir Winston Churchill, he included a selection from the Churchill series, a study of the “Democracy” painting, as well as some other works. Her Majesty took them to Windsor Castle for the weekend, to look them over. She was pleased with the work and Curtis was informed, a few days later, that the Queen would pose for him at Buckingham Palace for the new government commission.
From left to right, Baroness Soames,Jimmy Savile and Prime Minister James Callaghan at the launch of the Year of the Child at the Old Vic theatre in London, January 1979. The Old Vic is staging a performance of ‘The Gingerbread Man’.
In Plain Sight: the Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile
A little further along was another signed photograph. It was of Savile’s hero, Winston Churchill. One of Savile’s friends later told me that the way he held his cigar was directly copied from Churchill.
In 1965, Savile had queued up for hours to see the body of the great wartime leader lying in state at Westminster. ‘This one here is one of the only pictures of Winston Churchill that’s signed by him,’ he said proudly.
‘Now, his daughter Mary wanted me to do her a favour and I said, “OK, get me a signed photo of your Dad.” She said he didn’t sign anything so I said, “Tough. No favour.” She said, “Leave it with me”.’
He opened the glass door of the cabinet and removed the small, signed photograph. ‘Look what it says on the back. “Jimmy Savile. From Mary Soames. My thanks and in memory of someone we both admired.”’
The International Churchill Society
Honorary Members of The International Churchill Society
Pedophile Andrew Boeckman ex Eton Public School with a millionaire lawyer dad MADE CSA images of small children but escaped jail or the proceeds of crime
Pedophile Andrew Boeckman who was tried under the false name of Andrew Picard
Eton College student, Andrew Boeckman was ‘caught with more than 2,000 indecent images of children which he MADE. He encouraged youngsters to strip for him on a webcam’ … Children as young as 2 were filmed raped by dogs. But he was spared jail, not put on the sexual offences register, not investigated under the proceeds of crime act and :-
Pedophile Andrew Boeckman was tried under the false name of Andrew Picard by an agreement with the Police and the Crown Prosecution service and the Court in order to protect him and his family from exposure. Why you may ask? Isn’t it a criminal offence to be tried under a false name? because Andrew Boeckman had a rich dad who was part of the so exclusive legal fraternity.
The only shock here is that they charged him at all. Perhaps they were unable to avoid it!
Andrew’s Father Philip Boeckman is a partner in the firm CRAVATH, SWAINE & MOORE LLP earning a staggering figure of more than one million pounds a year. Philip Boeckman is a bankers lawyer getting then out of jams and arranging million pound deals.
The ‘Firm’ has other pedophile connections. Another of their top rich lawyers is also a convicted pedophile.
His pedophile son is a former Eton student who made and distributed more than 2,000 ‘appalling’ indecent images of children from his computer in his college bedroom has been spared jail.
News reports say:- “Andrew Picard, from Westminster, London, was found with thousands of pornographic images of children on his computer at the prestigious college near Windsor.
The 18-year-old was caught when he shared material with an undercover police officer through a chat room. Picard was arrested at Eton after his IP address was traced to the school.
He admitted ten counts of child pornography and was given a ten-month prison term, suspended for 18 months, at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday.
He was let off jail after his work with doctors in the past year to address his offending was taken into consideration.” We say:- What a complete load of bullshit. His dad paid for expensive doctors so the pervert escapes justice.
Boeckman had made indecent images of youngsters and shared them via chat messages on Skype in January and February last year. He made CSA images of children. The clips were SO APPALLING that Judge Peter Ross could not bring himself to describe them.
Before moving to Eton College, Andrew Boeckman and his siblings attended the £17,000 per annum Upper Latymer School in Hammersmith. (Their parents Philip and Erin Boeckman are named in the following report.)
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Peter Ball… was propelled into the royal circle by two people… One was prebendary Willie Booth, a former chaplain at Westminster School, who’d taken over from Canon Anthony Caesar, sub dean of the Chapel Royal and the Queen’s domestic chaplain.
The other was Jimmy Savile.
Ball’s royal friendships were not confined to the Prince of Wales.
Ball was on close terms with the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, and was invited to preach at Sandringham.
Even the Queen supported him after his police caution. In 1994, when she was distributing Royal Maundy money in Truro, Ball was there with his brother, who was Truro’s bishop.
After lunch in the Chapter House, the Queen, who had been on the high table with local dignitaries, went across to Ball, held out her hand and said in the clearest of voices: ‘My love and encouragement, Bishop.’
Charles, meanwhile, must surely have been advised to keep Ball at arm’s length — just as he had been advised to distance himself from Jimmy Savile.
‘The Prince did receive letters from the public complaining about Savile,’ says a senior aide.
… health chiefs were said to have been ‘gobsmacked’
to arrive for a meeting at Highgrove to find Savile at the table. He apparently threatened the officials after the Prince left, saying making them unhappy could cost the officials a knighthood.
Savile was a guest at Charles’s 40th birthday party at Buckingham Palace in 1988, and at his 50th. When Charles received a gift of a box of Cohiba cigars from Fidel Castro, he passed them on to Savile.
Later still, on Savile’s 80th birthday, Charles despatched another box of cigars, together with a pair of gold cufflinks and a note that bizarrely read: ‘Nobody will ever know what you have done for this country Jimmy. This is to go some way in thanking you for that.’
Britain’s Prince of Wales talks with boxer Frank Bruno (left) and entertainer Sir Jimmy Savile during a reception at London’s Buckingham Palace Friday November 13, 1998, The reception, hosted by Queen Elizabeth, on the eve of the Prince’s 50th birthday.
Sex abuse bishop Peter Ball and brother seek Catholic switch
06 December 2017
A former bishop jailed for sex offences and his twin brother have said they are looking to join the Catholic Church to “live and worship in anonymity”.
Peter Ball, who is now 85, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 for offences against 18 teenagers and men.
The former Bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester carried out the abuse between the 1970s and 1990s.
Ball’s identical twin and former bishop Michael Ball said in an email events had “wearied and reduced us”.
In the email, mistakenly sent from Michael Ball to BBC South East’s Colin Campbell among others, the brothers said having been “battered by the Church” they would be looking to join the Roman Catholic Church.
They said they would like to “end our days in a church where we can live and worship in anonymity and without constant fear”.
The BBC contacted Michael Ball about the email and he said a move to the Catholic Church was “a possibility”.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton said in a statement: “We confirm that Peter Ball has been in contact with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clifton, in which diocese he now lives, expressing an interest in becoming a member of the Catholic Church.
“This matter is subject to discussions between Clifton Diocese and the statutory authorities, who are the lead with regards to Peter Ball’s risk management in the community.”
Dame Moira said he had received seven letters from families and individuals following the arrest and cautioning of Ball in 1992 for gross indecency – when he stood down as Bishop of Gloucester – but failed to pass six of them to the police.
Lord Carey had also failed to put Ball on the the “Lambeth List” which names clergymen whose suitability for ministry had been questioned.
Dame Moira also heard Bishop Michael Ball allowed his brother to attend functions in his place, even after his resignation, and on one occasion Peter Ball had introduced himself as his brother.
In 1994 Michael Ball campaigned to Lord Carey to return his brother to the ministry, with one bishop calling the brothers’ activities “manipulative”, Dame Moira reported .
Between 1995 and 1997, with Lord Carey’s backing. Peter Ball returned to church ministry, eventually undertaking duties such as confirmations.
After a series of investigations Balls’ ministry ceased in 2011, Dame Moira reported.
Charles embroiled in rapidly growing gay-sex scandal
Prince Charles is in the middle of a gay-sex scandal and media frenzy that just won’t quit.
Butler-turned-biographer Paul Burrell says he has an audiotape describing a sexual encounter between Prince Charles and a male aide.
By John Stillwell, AP
The heir to England’s throne spent Sunday night — just as he returned from a 10-day trip to India and the Persian Gulf — holding what some in the British press referred to as “crisis talks” with son Prince William, companion Camilla Parker Bowles and other aides to determine the next step in quelling the story.
For the past week, newspapers have been trumpeting a story being told by former palace servant George Smith, 43, who worked for Charles for 11 years until 1997.
Smith says he witnessed a sexual incident involving Prince Charles and a former male royal aide. He says he recorded what he saw on an audiotape and gave the tape to Princess Diana. Now, the tape is in the hands of Paul Burrell, Diana’s former butler.
Last month, Burrell began publicizing his tell-all book, A Royal Duty. He mentioned the tape and said that revealing its contents would rock the monarchy.
Newspapers pounced on the story, and the allegations began appearing on various Web sites.
But before London papers could report the story, Michael Fawcett, a former royal aide to the prince, got an injunction from the High Court. It prevented the British press from reporting the details of the lurid allegations.
As the media interest escalated throughout last week, Charles issued a lengthy denial Thursday: “This allegation is untrue,” and it “did not take place.”
In his statement, he mentioned that the claim comes from a former royal household employee who “has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and has previously suffered from alcoholism following active service in the Falklands.”
It said the employee — Smith — had made charges in the past “which the police have fully investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.” Smith also claims to have been raped by the same aide.
On Monday, a former valet, Simon Solari, who worked for Charles and Diana for 15 years, came to Charles’ defense, telling London’s Evening Standard that the allegations “simply could not be true.”
Also on Monday, a spokeswoman at Clarence House, the prince’s official London residence, said there were no plans to take any legal action and no plans for the prince to make any public comment.
The prince was spending Monday and Tuesday privately at his Highgrove estate; his first public engagement this week is set for Wednesday at a memorial service at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.
Although some British press reports say the scandal is strong enough to leave a black mark on the monarchy, Charles’ spokesman, Patrick Harrison, says the royal is “unruffled” by it all.
SATANIC WORSHIP AND THE CHURCH
DERRY MAINWARING KNIGHT
HIS INTERESTING CIRCLE OF ASSOCIATES
In 1986 an interesting case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court involving a self-confessed satanist and his attempt to defraud thousands of pounds from clergy. In the case of Derry Mainwaring Knight, he had the most intriguing connections and what transpired in court was a fascinating case involving deception, blackmail, prostitution, child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, Church of England, Roman Catholic Church, Freemasonry, MPs, aristocracy, showbusiness and, of course, money.
I’m not going to offer any opinion on the case but I think it is particularly interesting to look at the way the detective in charge of the investigation behaves towards witnesses. (See article: Satan Man’s a Rapist – 22 March 1986).
(Most of the articles are from The Times, unless otherwise stated).
Those mentioned during the trial included:
Alison Baker: Wife of Rev Baker
Rev John Baker: St Mary’s Church, Knight lodged with him
Rt Rev Peter Ball: Bishop of Lewes, convicted paedophile
Rev Michael Barling: Christian training centre lecturer
George Booth: Congregational Minister, Leigh-on-Sea
Lord Brentford: Donor
Lady Brentford: Donor
Clive Bygrave: Disc Jockey – cruise liners Canberra and Sea Princess, East Grinstead
Doctor Caspar: ‘Chief of Satanists’
Michael Corkery, QC: Prosecution
Irene Cranham: Cleaner for Angela Murdoch
Judge Neil Denison: Trial judge
Ethel: Grandmother of Derry Mainwaring Knight
Det Chief Insp Terence Fallon: Former head of Sussex Police, Papua New Guinea police
Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman: Disc Jockey
Rt Rev Mark Green: Retired Bishop of Aston
David Hamilton: Disc Jockey
Lord Hampden: Donor
Lorraine Haynes: Prostitute, Shoeburyness, Essex
Lord & Lady Ingleby: Refused donation
Laurence Kayne: Managing Director, Laurence Kayne of Berkeley Square Ltd
Enoch Powell: Accused by Knight of being a Satanist
Michael Ransby: Jeweller, Southend
Susan Sainsbury: Donor
Timothy Sainsbury: Conservative MP for Hove, Donor
Donald Scutt: adviser of a religious trust, South Warnborough, Hampshire
Det Sgt Brian Smeed: Interviewing officer
Samantha Sprackling: Dancer
Julie Tremain: Prostitute
Rev Colin Urquhart: Christian training centre
Michael Warren: Former High Sheriff of East Sussex, farmer & magistrate, Donor
Michael West, QC: Defence
Willie Whitelaw: Deputy Prime Minister
Simon Willis: Disc Jockey, East Grinstead
Donna Winwood: Pantomime Dancer, North London
Wednesday 19 February 1986: ‘SATANISM’ MAN’S LUXURY CARS
A man bought a Lotus sports car the day a “highly gullible” clergyman obtained £25,000 for him to finance an alleged crusade against satanism, Maidstone Crown Court was told yesterday.
Derry Knight, aged 46, had convinced the Rector of Newick, Sussex, that he needed the money to break his links with a satanic circle and buy its insignia to break its power.
Mr Michael Corkery, QC, for the prosecution said the Rev John Baker had approached Mr Gordon Scutt, adviser to the charitable P & P Trust.
In a letter, the rector asked: “Please pray for Derry… he needs a great deal of prayer and divine protection”.
The rector negotiated a loan from the charity on 8 November 1984. “The date is of interest”, Mr Corkery said, “for on that same day the defendant bought a Lotus motor car for £17,000”.
Mr Knight, a record producer, of Dormans Land, Surrey, has denied 19 charges of dishonestly obtaining £203,850 by deception.
Mr Corkery also alleged that Mr Knight had “conned” £37,500 from Lord Hampden, a parishioner of Mr Baker, to buy a Rolls Royce.
“The rector said the defendant needed the Rolls Royce to convince his satanist colleagues that he still had influence”.
Mr Corkery said that Mr Knight spent tens of thousands of pounds on jewellery, clothing and cars. He would pick up prostitutes and other women, shower them with gifts, and then leave them.
Mr Baker, aged 49, told the court that when he heard of Mr Knight’s problems he immediately prayed.
The case continues today.
20 FEBRUARY 1986: EVIL SPIRITS ‘TOOK MAN OVER’
The record in the alleged Satan confidence trickster case said yesterday he talked with demonic spirits in the man’s body.
The Rev John Baker said that he twice took authority over the spirits in the name of Jesus Christ.
Mr Baker, the Rector of Newick in East Sussex, told Maidstone Crown Court that Derry Mainwaring Knight first went into a trance when he and his wife went to pray with him.
“I recognised the state from having dealt with many people in similar states over the years as being due to demonic spirit infestation”.
Mr Knight awoke from the trance and later they prayed again, but Mr Knight again went into a trance.
The rector said the spirits started to speak out of Mr Knight. “It was coming out of his mouth but not in his normal voice”.
“As we were in prayer I said something like ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I bind these spirits and adjure them to tell the truth and to declare their ground in this man’s life’”.
Mr Baker said the voice then spoke back to him: “you cannot have him, he belongs to Lucifer. He was dedicated by sacrifice as a child and he is a Master of the Occult”.
The rector said Mr Knight told him he had wanted to get out of the satanic order since about 1980, but was being held in by his vows, fear and debts he owed them.
Mr Baker told the court Mr Knight had told of two debts, one to a “Chief of the Satanists” in the area. He was known as Doctor Caspar.
Mr Knight had told the rector that if he had any chance of getting out of the satanic order he had to destroy certain artefacts, including robes and gold and silver which were used for satanic worship.
But the order was not willing to let him have them for nothing, Mr Baker said.
Mr Baker said that after Mr Knight had been given £16,000 he produced a chain of office and bracelet used in satanic rites.
The rector explained that he and Mr Knight smashed up both items in the rectory garden and then took to a jeweller to be melted down.
Mr Knight, aged 46, of Dormans Land, Surrey, denies 19 charges of dishonestly obtaining £203,850 by deception.
Myra Hindley exposed as a ‘practicing WITCH’ whose occult links lead to Jimmy Savile
30th July 2017
MOORS murderer Myra Hindley has been accused of being a practicing witch who worshipped the occult alongside Ian Brady while the duo carried out their evil crimes.
At Ian Brady’s side, monstrous Hindley was responsible for the murder and torture of at least five children in the 1960s.But now it has emerged that the evil pair were versed in the occult, and took their child victims to Saddleworth Moor to carry out sadistic rituals.Hindley has been accused of taking on the look of the witch while Brady behaved as the alchemist, according to Moors murder expert Erica Gregory.Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online, she said: “Myra was given a high status by Brady from the start.“This was his way of manipulating her into doing exactly what he wanted.“Myra took the role of the persecuted women in history while Brady was taking on the role of alchemist – they even found books on witchcraft in their house when police arrested them.“We have found evidence they were doing rituals on the Moors – we’ve seen knotted ropes, hare and sheep bones with evidence of large fires lit up around oak trees.”
Gregory even believes that the the murders were meticulously planned for ritualistic purposes – with the evil duo choosing to kill their victims on dates important within the occult calendar.“The murders were separated by four months – I believe Brady chose dates and times for his rituals,” she said.“Tommy Rhattigan, for example, was taken in November 1963 – the same day Margaret Murray died – who was a famous witch.“I believe her death, and the fact it was the anniversary of the Battle of Sheriffmuir was a trigger for Tommy to be picked up.”
It is no secret that witchcraft and satanic worshipping were big in the 1960s – with several high-profile Hollywood films airing in the era.And the Moors murderers even had links to infamous Alex Sanders – who rose to notoriety for attempting to raise a dead body in Alderley Edge and was a known friend of Jimmy Savile.“Brady and Hindley sought out Sanders when he worked at the John Rylands Library in Manchester which held books on occultism.“Sanders went on to work on films with Sharon Tate and he was friends with Savile, too – so there’s a clear link.”This comes after Daily Star Online exclusively revealed that Brady was accused of selling child pornography to the shamed former DJ.Hindley and Brady were given life sentences in 1966.Together, they killed Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans between July 1963 and October 1965.At least four of them, including Bennett, were sexually assaulted.It comes after Daily Star Online exclusively revealed Ian Brady’s evil map that could cryptically lead to the location of Keith Bennett’s body – which has never been found.
Has Prince Charles found his true spiritual home on a Greek rock?
12 May 2004
On Monday night a resplendent yacht docked at the watery entrance to the world’s only monastic republic. A middle-aged man, followed by two bodyguards, stepped on to the jetty of the peninsula in northern Greece and into the “state” known variously as Mount Athos, Aghio Oros and the Holy Mount.
A few monks in black robes and pillar-box hats stood waiting, but, under orders to keep the identity of this particular pilgrim secret, it was a reception without fanfare. Their guest – clean-shaven in contrast to the bearded clerics – was Prince Charles, on his third clandestine retreat to Athos in the past 12 months.
According to friends and associates of the prince, the future head of the Church of England has become enamoured of the Orthodox faith to the point that he has adorned a section of his home at Highgrove with prized Byzantine icons. Many are believed to originate from the Mount, the Orthodox world’s holiest site.
“There is no question that the British royal is Orthodox in his heart,” confided one Athonite monk, making a rare trip outside the remote republic. “Sadly, he is very constrained by his position.”
Athos, they say, encapsulates Charles’s profound admiration for tradition, ancient wisdom and a divine natural order – even if it has maintained a ban on women since AD1060.
Women are still forbidden from going within 500 metres of the monks’ republic. Yellow signs along the shores of the 400-square-mile peninsula shoo away “female intruders”, despite growing calls within the EU to have the ban lifted. For the nearly 2,000 monks who have devoted their lives to shunning sexual desire through prayer, the Virgin Mary is the only acceptable female presence.
The prince, like his friend, the composer Sir John Tavener, who converted to Greek Orthodoxy in 1977, is said to be especially drawn to the Orthodox church’s rugged spirituality. Orthodox faithful are allowed to marry up to three times.
Not since the Stuarts has an heir to the throne taken such an intellectual interest in religion. For years Charles, who assumes the title of Defender of the Faith when he becomes king, has displayed an unprecedented interest in denominations as divergent as Islam and Buddhism.
But his regular meetings with Ephraim, the abbot of Vatopedion – his adopted monastery on the Mount – have helped fuel speculation that the prince is being personally instructed in eastern Christianity, even if it is fiercely denied by courtiers.
The Cypriot-born abbot is said to be a frequent visitor to Highgrove.
Witnesses say that when the prince arrived in Athos days after the death of Princess Diana almost seven years ago, it was Ephraim who induced him to join the faith. Closeted in a chamber alone with the abbot, Charles is believed to have made a “spiritual commitment” to Christian Orthodoxy.
“What people forget is that Orthodoxy is in his family,” Archbishop Grigorios of Thyateira, who heads the 500,000-strong Orthodox community in Britain, told the Guardian.
“One of Charles’s aunts, the Grand Duchess Eugenia, was proclaimed an Orthodox saint after she was murdered in Moscow where she had established a monastery. His paternal grandmother, Aliki [Alice], was a nun for most of her life. She spoke very good Greek and in her later years, when she came to live in London, she kept an Orthodox chapel in Buckingham Palace,” added the prelate. “Aliki was a very powerful woman whom I’m sure had a very strong influence on Charles in his early years.”
As the religious centre of eastern Orthodoxy, Athos is a magnet for pilgrims dedicated to the faith. Many – as testified by the growing number of monks from the EU, Canada, Australia and the US – don’t look back. And among Europe’s wealthy blue bloods, the luxuriant territory is seen as the perfect “detox” getaway.
But the prince’s affection for a place where visitors sleep on lumpy mattresses and rise at 4am has also raised the inevitable question of whether the heir to the throne harbours desires of eventually converting to the religion.
Prince Philip, his Corfu-born father who like Charles is an honorary member of the Friends of Mount Athos, had to switch to Anglicanism from Greek Orthodoxy to marry the Queen.
In their large, decaying monasteries the clerics cherish the sort of Spartan conditions that Charles hated at Gordonstoun, his stern Scottish boarding school. Most also make no secret of their loathing of other western religions.
In the wake of last year’s allegations of rape and the sale of gifts which engulfed the house of Windsor and its staff, senior Greek Orthodox priests launched a spirited defence of the prince. Many denounced the claims as an “international conspiracy” unleashed by forces bent on destroying the reluctant royal’s new-found affection for the religion.
“All these attacks against Charles are doubtless due to the fact that he has embraced Orthodoxy,” said His Beatitude, Anthimos, the Bishop of Alexandroupolis. “If his Orthodox beliefs were ever to be made official, people would find it very troubling.”
Officially, St James’s Palace says the prince’s trips to the car-free Mount are a purely “personal affair”.
“He goes there as a private individual, not in his official capacity as the Prince of Wales,” said Kirstine Clark, a spokeswoman at the palace. “Visits are very much in his private time, so we don’t issue details. What I can say is that he is interested in the architecture and spirituality of Mount Athos.”
But, perhaps because he stands to become the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Charles is also unusually sensitive about his trips to the Mount. His visits have been shrouded in secrecy. Countless Greeks with access to the community told the Guardian they were under oath never to mention them.
Government officials and diplomats are politely told not to escort the prince to Vatopedion, which he helped restore with money from the auction of his watercolours.
Attending the opening of the newly refurbished monastery last year, the prince said he hoped each of the Mount’s 23 monasteries would soon regain their former splendour. He would, he said, work hard to ensure that happened.
Greek Supreme Court Charges 14 over Vatopedi Monastery Scandal
Greece ’s Supreme Court indicted 14 individuals earlier today over the Vatopedi Monastery land swap scandal that became public in August 2008. The court struck down a Supreme Court deputy prosecutor’s reversal of the indictments, requested by three of the defendants, which had been issued by a criminal appeals court.
Those charged are Vatopedi Monastery Abbot Ephraim, monk Arsenios, notary Aikaterini Peleki, attorneys Dionysis Pelekis and Dimitrios Pelekis, former head of the Hellenic Public Real Estate Company (KED) Petros Papageorgiou, KED board member Constantinos Gratsios, former director of KED’s real estate management service Georgios Mitropoulos, former Agriculture Ministry secretary general Constantinos Skiadas and former head of Rural Development Ministry Stamatoula Madeli. Also indicted is former Legal Council of State Vice President Grigoris Krombas, as well as Christodoulos Botsios, Stefanos Detsis and Ioannis Dionysopoulos.
The 14 charged are accused of morally or otherwise instigating acts of breach of trust and issuing false certificates in connection with transactions swapping real estate in Lake Vistonida and its shores with prime real estate belonging to the Greek state as well as damaging the state’s interests. The cost to the state is believed to have been at least 100 million euros, while according to financial writer Michael Lewis, a Greek parliamentary commission established to investigate the scandal, estimated the value of government property received by the monastery at one billion euros. The public fury that followed the revelation of the illegal land swaps led the government of New Democracy to cancel the deals and two Ministers resigned, under huge pressure from the media.
Ioannis Aggelou, director of Former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis’ office at the time, was the only person to be acquitted under the specific indictments.
Efraim’s ring ran cash slush funds to bribe politicians, offshore companies, got nearly 200 million euros in loans from banks, and played a role in the engineered collapse of the banks of Andreas Vgenopoulos in Cyprus which cost tax payers 4 billion euros.
“Mt Athos is currently one large building site in contrast to the dereliction and poverty of the rest of Greece. It seems unreal that humble monks should be employing so much specialist labour. This must be costing hundreds of millions of euros. The ancient buildings have received EU and Unesco grants, but these surely account for a fraction of the lavish expenditure I observed. Such huge grants could not be justified given that access is so limited and entry is forbidden to women,” reports The Spectator.
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