tantrums over teddy bears and nothing else

Broadcasters have schedules to fill, as we all know, but what’s the point Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the pedophile? If you’ve been following the Ghislaine Maxwell case with interest, then there’s nothing new to see here. And if you haven’t, well, why would you start now?

In fact, it’s not entirely fair to say that there was nothing new at all. There were two little nuggets about the prince that turned out to be the only highlights of the program, but they threw absolutely nothing on his relationship with Maxwell, who was convicted of trafficking young women for Jeffrey Epstein (the prince denies any wrongdoing). Instead, they simply served to illustrate that the Queen’s second son is a spoiled baby-man.

First, the recollections of a former Palace protection officer, who claimed the prince had 50 to 60 stuffed toys on his bed, their precise arrangement recorded for reference in a laminated photograph. If the staff made the bed and didn’t put the bunnies back in exactly the right place, the Prince would “scream and scream and get very violent”.

And then there was the phone number. In Maxwell’s “little black book,” there is an entry for Prince Andrew alongside the numbers of his various telephones and residences. The show’s presenter, Ranvir Singh, called one of them and was stunned to have access to the royal voicemail. Yes, two years after the existence of the book became public, the Prince did not think of changing the number. Einstein, he is not.

These two details were moderately interesting, but what do they have to do with a supposedly serious documentary on trafficking and sexual abuse? They felt a project that had failed to find a decent exclusive and was moving the clock forward. What else could explain the presence of Lady Victoria Hervey, a 90s socialite who gave several interviews about her friendship with Maxwell and whose contribution here extended to defending the prince’s desire for female companionship after his divorce “At the end of the day, he’s only a man, and he’s a man, isn’t he? I don’t think anyone can expect him to just be a monk in a monastery.

Presenter Ranvir Singh couldn’t do much with the worn gear. When she got access to the prince’s voicemail, she was so shocked that she left a floundering message (“Hello, uh, I think it might be Prince Andrew…”). At one point she took a taxi to Kinnerton Street in Belgravia, and to the house of mews where this infamous photo was taken of the prince with alleged victim Virginia Giuffre – only to look out the window and then drive off . Seemed like a waste of taxi fare.

An emotional, ever-faithful Ian Maxwell has come forward to defend his sister. We heard from some of the victims involved in the case. But the permanent image was of a prince stomping on stuffed animals, and that story deserves more serious treatment.

About Geraldine Higgins

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