Is there really a secret society of Kabbalah adherents at the heart of the Royal family?
In an interview with The (paywalled) London Times, Marcus Weston, a leader of the London Kabbalists, has claimed that there are secret followers of the mystical offshoot of Judaism in the heart of Buckingham Palace.
He says the royal converts have signed confidentiality agreements while they learn about the sect.
Conveniently enough, the remarkable and impossible-to-disprove revelation comes as the group finalizes plans to expand its London base.
But, if there really is one, who could be the Royal Kabbalist?
Prince Charles is well known for his tolerance of all world religions, and he is one of the few Westerners to have read the Quran in totality. However, his own spiritual beliefs are deeply conservative.
He is a Church of England man through and through, and would be intuitively aware of the dangers of the future head of the church being associated with what many regard as a crackpot cult.
Kabbalah dates from the 13th century. Its teachings are based on an ancient 23-volume book called the Zohar, which offers interpretations of the inner meaning of the Torah.
However, Kabbalah underwent a rather dramatic transformation in 1969, when a former insurance salesman, Rabbi Philip Berg, established the Kabbalah Centre International and appointed himself as its leader. The centre markets Kabbalah as a “universal system for self-improvement” and attracts more than 3.5 million followers.
In 2005, an undercover journalist with cancer (and a hidden camera) was charged £860 for “Kabbalah water with very strong healing powers”, some sacred books written in Aramaic (which he could not read), and to attend a dinner also attended by Madonna.
The Kabbalah Centre sells copies of its sacred texts and other “spiritual tools”, such as the famous red string bracelet, worn on the left wrist, and believed by adherents to protect the wearer from the evil eye.
The Beckhams, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Demi Moore, and Madonna have all been seen sporting the distinctive talisman.
It is the red string bracelet that is leading to speculation that the member of the Royal family whom Mr Weston might be so cryptically referring to is Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.
In 2007 she was photographed wearing what looked like a red Kabbalah string around her wrist at The Trooping of The Colour, the official ceremony which marks the Queen’s birthday.
She was again spotted wearing a red string on her left wrist in 2009, while on her gap year in Australia.
A spokesperson for the Duke of York declined to coment when asked by the Royalist whether Beatrice was a Kabbalist.
Weston told The Times, “There's a host of people who sign confidentiality agreements, whether it is royal family members, some celebs, some business people.”
At the height of its popularity, celebrities including Paris Hilton, Rosie O’Donnell, and Lindsay Lohan all took to Kabbalah and were seen wearing the red thread bracelet associated with the sect.
Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher held their 2005 wedding at the Los Angeles center and Madonna famously claimed Kabbalah inspired her 1998 album Ray of Light.
However, not everyone is impressed by the claims of a Kabbalah conspiracy at the heart of the establishment. The Royal writer Lady Colin Campbell told The Daily Beast, “I would be very surprised if Prince Charles was doing Kabbalah. But if the York girls were interested it wouldn’t matter as they are of no real significance. We do have religious tolerance in this country, even for those who wish to follow crackpot cults.
“It’s probably only a matter of time before Tom Cruise and John Travolta claim they have been at Buck House studying Satan with the Royals.”