Tempus sure fugit, and how. Twenty years ago, on Saturday 1 July 1995, monarchs from around the world descended on London for the wedding of Greek Crown Prince Pavlos to Marie-Chantal, daughter of the duty-free magnate Bob Miller. I remember it well, especially the hangover. Never have I seen so many royals under one roof. The Greeks had treated King Constantine, father of the groom, very badly, managing to convince the press, and in turn the people, that the first man to resist the military takeover and stage a countercoup against the colonels was in fact one of them. Leave it to the Hellenes to say black is white and vice versa.
I’ll come back to the Greeks a bit later, but first the royal wedding. Both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip attended the wedding ceremony and all the bashes, as did Prince Charles. At one point, the heir to the British throne sent Selina Scott to my table to fetch me. He asked me a direct question and wasn’t best pleased with my answer. It was something to do with race and three men who had tried to mug me in Cadogan Square. It was not an auspicious beginning.
Later on, I spotted a tall lady with an ample bosom and asked my neighbour, Prince Michael of Greece, if I should take her for a whirl. Go for it, was his advice. When the lady stood up, I realised that it was going to be tricky. The Queen of Denmark towered over me. I tried to bury my face in her poitrine, but she expertly pushed me away. Worse was the reaction of the mother of my children. She and a bunch of wise guys pointed at me and laughed. I have felt more embarrassed in my life, but right now I can’t think when. Nevertheless it was a great party and I was the last to leave. I gave Selina Scott a ride back to London and when we arrived in Cadogan Square I asked her in for a drink. It was past 5 a.m. and the sun was coming up. ‘I’d love to,’ said Selina, but then pointed at somebody next to her. I was up front with the driver. Second faux pas of the night. But Selina and I are still friends, which shows that women do have a good sense of humour.
That was 20 years ago, and I’ve since been to two more Greek royal weddings — there are five children: three boys and two girls — and have had a terrific time at all of them. We Greeks have the best-looking royals. They have Danish and German blood and apparently King Constantine is the most royally connected of them all. Their trouble is that they suffer from ‘Helladulatria’, excessive love for Hellas, a country that has stolen their personal wealth, their houses that were bought with their own moolah, and has called the King names I wouldn’t call the scum that are in power as I write. Still, they are the nicest and noblest-looking royals around, and they have been awfully kind to me, putting up with my shenanigans.
How quickly these 20 years have passed. Greece was booming back then, the great socialist crook Ali Babandreou at the helm, which brings me to the sainted editor’s appearance on Question Time last week. One of those left-wing Guardian types, a Reverend (some Reverend) Giles Fraser, complained about Greece having spent more money compared with its GDP on armaments than any other country. As is the case with everything left-wing, his argument was phony. The reason why Greek governments ordered so many armaments was for the kickbacks. How did both socialist and conservative ministers end up as rich as they have on salaries that are less than fifty grand per annum. One socialist, now in jail, got 250 million greenbacks in kickbacks, bought grand houses in Athens and Paris and maybe even in Gstaad (just a rumour) and got only ten years (which will most likely be cut by half). Not a bad deal. He was a minister when the government stole the Greek king’s property. Go figure.
And now to Mr Tsipras and his buffoon-jester Yannis Varoufakis. As I write, I still believe the Germans will blink. When the crisis first broke five years ago, I wrote time and again in Greek papers that we should get out there and then. Why borrow billions in order to pay back foreign banks? But politicians cannot resist the siren call of a shithole like Brussels. They have outriders accompany them to the Elysée and to No. 10. Papandreou, Venizelos (not the name he was born with) and Samaras all fell for the trappings. And they ruined the country as a result by making it inevitable that extreme left-wing scum such as Varoufakis would come to power. I was embarrassed to be Greek last week, watching some of those so-called Greek lecturers in various obscure British universities interrupt and spout slogans about democracy rather than reasoned arguments. All I know is that I am going to Greece for the better part of the summer to see friends such as the Livanoses and the Goulandrises. Our families have contributed to the country; shits like the Tsiprases and Varoufakises have not. They should go back to where they belong: the loo.