What the Butler Said

It’s been another bad time for the royal family, despite the successes of Jubilee year.  The ever-fascinating, ever-provocative Princess Diana has come back to haunt them with a vengeance.  Almost everyone clearly believed, unshakably, that the fact that the Queen suddenly "remembered" What The Butler Said during their epic 3-hour (or 1-1/2 hour, depending whom you believe) vertical conversation, just a few hours before the butler was due to go into the witness box and spill the squalid beans on the royals, might just possibly have been intended to put an end to the trial and keep the beans safely unspilled under the carpet (squishy), in which case it would have been a highly improper use of royal status to interfere with the course of justice, although pretty clearly not actually to pervert it.  Now the faithful but haunted-looking Sir M. Peat says it wasn’t like that at all:  HM only realised the significance of the butler’s words to her when she read in the newspaper that the police had withdrawn their allegations that Burrell had been selling Diana’s undies and postcards in the US and discovered that they didn’t after all have pictures of Burrell wearing Diana’s off-the-shoulder ball gowns.  Nor, according to Peat, did she realise that by getting Prince Charles to tell Peat to tell the cops that yes, Burrell had indeed mentioned that he was keeping the royal thongs and bras in a safe place, she was going to be bringing the trial to a jolting and permanent halt.  One of several mysteries lurking in all this is what prompted the police to tell the royals that they had this apparently lethal evidence against the butler, then to discover that they hadn’t after all, and then to forget to mention to the royals that they hadn’t.  Perhaps Sir M. Peat’s curious mandate to hold an enquiry into his own (and others’) conduct in the affair will throw light on this strange behaviour on the part of the Bill, although I wouldn’t bet on it.