Let them reign in peace

Broadsides from the pirate captain of the Jet Set

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New York

It’s all over but the shouting, as they say in the Bagel, but bitchy British tabloids had nothing on the locals where Chuck and his bride were concerned. Call it envy, call it republicanism, but, wink-wink, the Yankee press had a field day. Tina Brown, an expatriate Brit who passes as an English aristo among the denizens of the Bronx, noted that Camilla reminded her of a governess. ‘Englishmen always marry their nanny...’ Quite so, but how would snide Tina know? I suppose the fact that Tina looks like one might have something to do with it. A ghastly old bag, Cindy Adams, wrote that Camilla resembled a cleaning lady. Again, the plebeian Adams surely knows what she’s talking about. In fact, she’s an expert on the subject. What the Noo Yawk gossips did get right was the lack of American dignitaries at the royal wedding. Joan Rivers? Lily Safra? Oy veh! Why not Victoria Gotti, Don John Gotti’s little girl, or Ivana Trump?

Never mind. Self-loathing is a particularly English trait, and taking it out on the royal family is by now old hat. But it has caught on over here, and I, for one, ain’t best pleased. Let’s face it, the royals have been debased by the Murdoch press, but it’s mostly their fault. Giving access to the hacks is like allowing a large wooden horse inside the walls of Troy. Whoever’s idea that was will go down in history as the British George Washington.

Prince Charles I have met twice. Once at Prince Pavlos’s wedding and once at Highgrove. The first time he asked me who had mugged me. I corrected him, saying I had been attacked but not mugged. ‘Who were they?’ ‘They were the kind you would like to see more of in the Guards,’ I answered. He didn’t like it. ‘I’d love to see a whole brigade of black guards,’ he said, and then turned away. He is, poor man, obviously politically correct, but then he’s not likely to be mugged, is he? Camilla I have met — I’m a good buddy of her brother’s — and she couldn’t be nicer.

So why all the malice? Easy. She’s a soft target, as are all the royals, but what I never expected was the snideness of the American media. Americans are nice people, and the kind of malicious writing the Brits excel in is not appreciated over here. And yet. Slagging the rich and famous pleases the envious, sells newspapers and comes off as a drug more powerful than crack cocaine. As Whistler said about the Brits, ‘They disguise emptiness with impudence,’ his epigram a perfect definition of modern journalism.

But enough about the royals. Let them reign in peace without press and photo calls. I liked it when Prince Charles was overheard calling a hack an awful man. Anyone more normal would have used stronger language. Charles is obviously a nice man who means well. The hacks are obviously not nice people and they mean bad. Chuck should fire anyone who advises good relations with the jackals, and get on with his life.

Mind you, as unthinkable as the abolition of the monarchy is in Britain is the closing of the Plaza hotel here in the Big Bagel. For nearly a century it has stood as an elegant sentry at the tip of Central Park, a venue for the crazy Twenties — Zelda Fitzgerald made it a point to jump into the fountain facing the Plaza regularly — and a rendezvous for the city’s high and mighty, as well as for those who aspired to fame and fortune. It was the gilded ceilings and those fabulous public interior spaces, the Oak Room, the Persian Room, the Palm Court and the Oak Bar that made the Plaza the icon it is. (I’ll never forget walking through the lobby and seeing my mother — covered in jewels which she never wore — crying and begging Linda Christian not to marry me in exchange for the jewels.) That was 1957. Although the fa