Charlie Is No Darling
A Highness in Low Places
If a person is to be judged by the company they keep it would be difficult to have a high regard for Mr Winsor.
Wilful Blindness To Sex Abuse By FriendIn July 2018 it was revealed at a public enquiry into sexual abuse that Windsor had stated that "monstrous wrongs" had been done to sexual abuser Peter Ball and that "I wish I could do more" to help his friend.
The statement was made in a letter from Mr Windsor to Ball two years after he had been cautioned by the police for gross indecency. The former Anglican bishop had by then resigned his position in the state church hierarchy.
Windsor also wrote that it was "appalling" that Canterbury archbishop George Carey had "gone back on" a plan to restore Ball to "some form of ministry in the church".
The following year Windsor wrote to Ball that he hoped that the Duchy of Cornwall would be able to find a house for him close enough that he could visit Windsor easily. He did in fact arrange for the Duchy, a public body, to buy a house that was let to Ball.
Windsor told the enquiry in a letter that he had not understood that the police caution meant that Ball had admitted his guilt.
In the letter submitted to the enquiry Windsor denied that he had tried to influence police investigations into the abuse by Ball though he is notorious for using his feudal status in the UK to pressure politicians into following his wishes.
Windsor also wrote that he had believed that Ball had been falsely accused of an unknown offence.
Ball's church is headed by Windsor's mother Elizabeth. Charlie will become the head when she dies.
High Office Made Worthy of Trust
In statement that exposed an establishment arrogance Windsor told the enquiry that in the 1980s and 1990s "there was a presumption that people such as bishops could be taken at their word and, as a result, of the high office they held, were worthy of trust and confidence". It seems probable that he too believes that he too is entitled to such a presumption.
Ball was convicted in 2015 of sexual offences against 18 young men. An independent enquiry has found that senior people in the state church had covered-up the abuse.
Richard Scorer, a lawyer representing some of Ball's victims, said that they were "dissatisfied" with Windsor's explanation. The lawyer said that Windsor could have had the best legal advice that money could buy and that it was hard to see his failure to check the facts as "anything other than wilful blindness". He added that the evidence given by Windsor and other "establishment figures" "will do little to dissuade survivors from the conclusion that the British establishment aided and protected Ball".
Formal Statement of Truth Refused
The enquiry may have felt fortunate to have heard from Mr Windsor at all.
He had refused to make a formal witness statement like any other witness. The statement would have included what lawyers called "a formal statement of truth" like swearing an oath.
Enquiry lawyers sent Windsor a template for his statement. But lawyers for Windsor challenged on human right grounds the need for Windsor to make a witness statement in that form. They also claimed that the enquiry did not have the power to compel him to give evidence.
Windsor's lawyers said that the request for a formal statement was "unfair" and would require disclosure of "intensely private and confidential" information.
In the end the enquiry lawyers accepted a letter from Windsor as equivalent to a statement. However, a lawyer for the victims of Ball's abused said that "This will feed concerns that the letter is less than entirely frank about his relationship with" the Anglican bishop. The lawyer suggested that Windsor's letter might include "matters to which he is reluctant to attach a formal statement of truth".
The lawyer also said that Windsor's refusal to make a formal statement will "raise concerns that the letter may be less than entirely frank about his relationship with Peter Ball".
Tantamount to Slavery
Qatar is an absolute monarchy. It is classified as "not free" by Freedom House. According to Amnesty International Qatar criminalises "legitimate forms of freedom of expression". Imprisonment is prescribed "for criticizing the Emir, for writing about the armed forces without permission and for offending divine religion". Blasphemy and consensual "illicit sexual relations" are also criminal offences. According to the Financial Times in 2014 its labour regulations "create conditions tantamount to slavery".
Qatar was the main financial backer of the Morsi government in Egypt. This sheikdom has also helped Bahrain violently suppress demands by its people for democratic freedoms.
But none of this seems to have worried Charlie enough to keep his distance from the emirate. He is reported to get on well with the former Emir. And he took advantage of this relationship in an attempt to persuade the Emir to use his influence to stop the use of modern architecture in the redevelopment of the Chelsea Barracks site in London. (See following He Knows What He Dislikes)
Windsor also wrote to the prime minister of Qatar with the same purpose.
Our future head of state: Admiral of the Fleet, Marshall of the Royal Air Force, Field Marshall, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cornwall etc. etc.
Draft minutes of a meeting between Windsor's then "private secretary" Michael Peat and the Chief Operating Officer of Qatari Diar, which was financing the Chelsea Barracks development, say that "The Prince of Wales wanted to assist his friends in Qatar and avoid criticism of them which he feared would stem from imposing a scheme which was not popular in London".
Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned, the influential second wife of the former Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani has also been described as a friend of Mr. Windsor. According to the London Evening Standard "He shares an intense interest in charitable activities with the Sheikha, who is well known and highly respected for her good works, and the two have met on several occasions".
To be fair to Charlie it should be said that he is not the only family member who feels at ease with tyrants. In the Washington Post Anne Applebaum nicely characterised his brother Andrew's habit of dining with "polished thug", including some from Libya and Saudi Arabia. The "prince" was acting as a trade ambassador for the British government. The Windsor family also invited the Crown Prince of Bahrain to the Windsor wedding in 2011.
In 2020 the Sunday Times revealed that Charlie had been handed a suitcase containing €1mn by Shiek Hamad bin Jaber Al Thani. Another time he accepted €1mn in cash stuffed into Fortnum and Mason carrier bags. A total of €3mn was paid.
Rather than explain that as a future head of state he could not accept such payments, Charlie had his staff count the money and arrange for his bank to pick it up.
The money was later paid to Charlie's Prince of Wale's Charitable Fund (PWCF). According to the Sunday Times this organisation "bankrolls the prince's pet projects and his country estate in Scotland". It is registered as a charity and gets the tax breaks that go with that status.
The newspaper reported no reason why the payments were made in cash rather than through more orthodox means of money transfer.
The small suitcase contained bundles of €500 notes. The meetings at which the money was handed over were not reported in the official list of Charlie's appointments and he attended without the usual presence of aides. No reference to the donations was made in the accounts of the PWCF.
Hamad was at one time the prime minister of Quatar, which once gave Charlie a £147,000 horse and has also given money for the maintenance of his castles in Scotland.
Hamad has been accused of permitting Quatar to sponsor terrorism and of allowing the torture of a British citizen.
Alistair Graham, who once chaired the committee for standards in public life was reported to have said that Charlie's actions were "truly shocking".