The scandal of the paedophile children's TV presenter Jimmy Savile has now reached the Royals.
Savile cultivated relationships with senior royals after meeting Prince Charles in the 1970s, and was invited to visit St James's Palace on numerous occasions in the 1980s when he acted as a mediator between Charles and Diana. Charles led tributes to Savile when he died a year ago.
Today, Dickie Arbiter, who handled media relations for the Prince and Princess of Wales while spokesman for the Queen between 1988 and 2000, told the UK’s Guardian newspaper that Savile’s behaviour at St James' Palace was a cause for "concern and suspicion".
"He would walk into the office and do the rounds of the young ladies taking their hands and rubbing his lips all the way up their arms if they were wearing short sleeves," Arbiter said. "If it was summer [and their arms were bare] his bottom lip would curl out and he would run it up their arms. This was at St James's Palace. The women were in their mid to late 20s doing typing and secretarial work."
Asked about Savile's behaviour with the royal assistants or whether Prince Charles had taken any action to find out if anyone in his family or staff might have suffered any abuse or have any information relating to the criminal investigation into Savile's alleged paedophilia, a spokesman for the prince told the Guardian: "We have no record of anyone making a complaint…The prince first met Savile through their shared interest in supporting disability charities [the prince became patron of the British Wheelchair Sports Foundation in the late 1970s] and it was primarily because of this connection that they maintained a relationship in the years that followed."
Arbiter said he struggled to understand why Savile was granted such access to the royal family, "I looked at him as a court jester and told him so," said Arbiter. "I remember calling him an old reprobate and he said 'not so much of the old'."