July 04, 2015
Tempus sure fugit, and how. Twenty years ago today, Thursday, July 2, 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 I answered him and he wasn’t too pleased. Something to do with race and three men who had tried to mug me in Cadogan Square. It was not an auspicious beginning. That evening, I spotted a tall lady with an ample bosom and asked my neighbor, Prince Michael of Greece, if I should take her for a whirl. Go for it, was his advice. Once the lady stood up, I realized it was going to be tricky. The Queen of Denmark towered over me, so 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 were pointing at me and laughing. I have felt more embarrassed in my life, but right now I can’t think of when. Nevertheless it was a great party and I was the last to leave. I gave Selina Scott a ride back to Cadogan Square and 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. The wife. I was up front with the driver. Second faux pas of the night. But Selina and I are still friends, which shows women do have a good sense of humor.
That was 20 years ago, and I have attended 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 they suffer from “Helladolatria,” excessive love for Hellas, a country that has stolen their personal wealth, their houses that were bought with their own moola, and has called the king names I wouldn’t call the scum that’s in power as I write. Still, they are the nicest and noblest-looking royals around, and they have been awfully kind with me while putting up with some of 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 Spectator’s editor’s appearance on Question Time last week. One of those left-wing Guardian types, a Reverend (some reverend) Fraser, complained about Greece having spent more money compared with its GDP on armaments than any other country. As with everything left-wing, his argument was phony. The reason 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 50 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 rumor), 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 Yanis 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 then and there. Why borrow billions in order to pay back foreign banks? But politicians cannot resist the siren call to visit a shithole like Brussels and have outriders accompany them to the Élysée and 10 Downing. Papandreou, Venizelos (not the name he was born with), and Samaras all fell for the trappings. And ruined the country as a result by making it inevitable for extreme left-wing scum like Varoufakis to come to power. I was embarrassed to be Greek last week, watching some of the so-called Greek lecturers in various obscure British universities interrupt and spout slogans about democracy rather than reasoned arguments. All I know is I am going to Greece for the better part of the summer to see friends like the Livanoses and the Goulandrises. Our families have contributed to the country; shit like the Tsiprases and Varoufakises have not. They should go back where they belong. To the loo.