Although I don’t doubt that Savile was a serial abuser, and that he had contact with a high level of fellow abusers, I do doubt the friends with the royals stories. Much has been made of the latter, especially his supposed friendship and influence with Prince Charles.
Despite the general consensus I don’t think Savile was as close a friend as he says he was to the royals, especially Charles.
When you start looking into the claims there’s not much to back it up other than Savile’s own words. For instance there aren’t that many photos of the two together – though because of the way Savile liked to promote himself maybe a few more than Charles with other celebs? (Search of the Times archive for Savile and Charles brings up just two articles whilst image searches also bring up very few photos of the two together)
The much touted photo of Savile and PC in kilts was taken in 1999 when Prince Charles joined the former presenter of Jim’ll Fix It after handing over the keys of a new minibus to the Glencoe Mountain team by the Order of St John in Scotland. (The Order of St John is also known as Knights Hospitaller, Savile was a Knight Hospitaller! Now there’s probably lot more to be said about such connections but that will have to wait for another Blog )
This to me is no more than the usual charity event that a royal would attend. It’s not unusual for the Royals to be offered hospitality at such events, hence the meal Savile arranged… and made sure everyone knew about.
This quote is from the Alison Bellamy Biography of Savile, How’s About That Then. “The superstar DJ was no stranger to Buckingham Palace and from 1984 to 1989 was a regular visitor” Now that’s not a big span of years if the tales of friendship and influence are true
I would suggest that Savile was friends with some of the staff (or even just one member) If he had been so for some years, he would probably have got a security clearance for visits long before any suspicions about him arose.
Invitations to the palace and the much mentioned Christmas cards? Lots of celebrities get invitations to palace events, not just Savile. Lots of Celebs and charitable fund raisers get Christmas cards from the Royals, so I don’t see these events as proof of a close friendship
The phone calls and marital advice? I think Diana (and/or Fergie) were taken in by his charitable deeds and probably by his tales and so befriended him and brought him in to court circles for a while.
Also from the AB Bio Princess Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton once called him ‘the unofficial court jester’ and has suggested that Jimmy’s advice was taken on board during the marriage collapse. ‘Savile’s opinions carry weight in both camps,’ Morton once said. ‘He articulates opinions that courtiers can only think of.’ Diana nicknamed Jimmy ‘The Boss’ which he loved.
Not sure where AM said that but I think that stems from Savile’s own claims. (For the record I’ve always thought Morton had another agenda and only published what he wanted us to know) Maybe Savile implied to both Charles and Di separately that the other took advice from him? Just a thought…..
The Court Jester thing I can understand, with this image he could say things others wouldn’t and then store them in his armoury of tales to tell.
Also the Royals were probably amused by him as only upper class people can be…. Not sure I can articulate what I mean by this, other than to try picture the Royal Fool from mediaeval times “One may conceptualize fools in two camps: those of the natural fool type and those of the licensed fool type. Whereas the natural fool was seen as innately nit-witted, moronic, or mad, the licensed fool was given leeway by permission of the court. In other words, both were excused, to some extent, for their behaviour, the first because he “couldn’t help it,” and the second by decree” (from Wikipedia) I think Savile was probably the licensed fool but looked upon as the moronic fool
Now read the following quote from the AB biography with the above in mind…
On the tape, Princess Diana also suggested that her husband had given Jimmy another role. Part of the recorded conversation read:
DIANA:’Jimmy Savile rang me up yesterday, and he said, “I’m just ringing up, my girl, to tell you that His Nibs has asked me to come and help out the redhead [Sarah Ferguson] and I’m just letting you know, so that you don’t find out through her or him; and I hope it’s all right by you.” And I said, “Jimmy, you do what you like.”
GILBEY:’What do you mean, “help out the redhead,” darling?’
DIANA:’Sort her out. He said, “You can’t change a lame duck, but I’ve got to talk to her, ’cause that’s the boss’s orders, and I’ve got to carry them out. But I want you to know that you’re my number-one-girl, and I’m not….”
Isn’t that an example of the Royal Fool being given leeway?
So to all those looking for conspiracy theories I would suggest you look into why the (to me) imaginary friendship with the royals is being touted. Is it hiding something else, deflecting interest from others? Is there another story to uncover? Who can say.