From Elizabeth I to Anne, Victoria and this second Elizabeth, they have been royalty's redeemers. These women have reigned over an unreconstructed patriarchal system with sex at the centre. Burrell reports coyly that palaces are jolly party places, where the Royal Family - however stupid, dutiful and emotionally deprived - retains power, borne out of money and sex.We in Britain have been duped by the aura of our great Queens. Patriarchy - paradoxically - requires the monarchy to be (mostly) male, although neither monogamous nor necessarily heterosexual.
It was then bequeathed to the modern monarchy.Today, there is a sense that the Windsors are Jacobeans, busy with horses, dogs and sex. Being visible and spectacular is the performance of its supremacy.The monarchy is, in fact, most at risk from republicanism when it sulks in the shadows, scared of its own secrets. That was the lesson learned by Georges I, II, III and IV, and by Queen Victoria. The monarchy's success, indeed the survival of its sovereignty, depends on it being seen. Sir Michael Peat's inquiry has already criticised Prince Charles for not calling in the police to investigate the rape allegation.Now, out of all these simmering scandals and the injunctions used to try and keep them out of the press, we are seeing the development of an historic collision between democracy and autocracy. This is a battle over what can be seen and known about the institution that presides over British society. She went further, "begged" Prince Charles, "trembling with exasperation", to sack the man.
We are entitled to wonder whether Diana also suspected that her husband used his power to protect the alleged attacker from the criminal justice system. Rather, it is about whether the Prince of Wales allowed a suspected sexual predator to work in his children's household; whether he neglected his duty of care and his duty as an employer to protect his other servants.According to Burrell, Diana was alarmed that the perpetrator of an alleged homosexual rape of the valet George Smith, "was still at large, working for her husband". And he knew about Diana's inlaid mahogany box of dangerous secrets.So serious were the suspicions released by the trial that there had to be an investigation by someone, somehow. The Royal Family conceded that they would have an in-house inquiry by Sir Michael Peat, Charles's private secretary, who investigated the Prince of Wales's private economy and the role of his main man, Fawcett.This scandal is not so much about libertinism in royal households, nor about whether a member of the Royal Family was involved in sexual activity with a servant, witnessed by another person. He knew, too, about allegations of bullying and impropriety by Charles's favourite, Michael Fawcett.