After the Duke of York’s disastrous “Newsnight” interview with Emily Maitlis, the FT scoured the archives for other royal TV car crashes . . .
King Richard III, very good of you to invite us to the Tower.
Getting in is easy, my dear. Getting out is the tricky part.
Indeed. Now I know you are keen to address rumours about the disappearance of Prince Edward V and his brother.
I’m glad you asked me that, Emily. I loved those boys like my own. The idea I’d do anything to hurt them . . .
You did have their uncle and half-brother executed, declared them illegitimate and cut them from the succession.
Well, if I was guilty of anything, it was of being too committed to the purity of the Yorkist line. Perhaps my judgment was coloured by my tendency to be too honourable.
Too honourable? But you had them murdered?
Look, I couldn’t even find the executioner’s block at the Tower.
But it seems like paid assassins were going in and out of that Tower all the time.
I was not party to any of that. The Duke of Buckingham was in charge.
Do you have any regrets about the time you spent with Buckingham?
No, I don’t regret our friendship. He introduced me to some people who were vital to my work — the Strangling Suffragan, the prince-killing plenipotentiary of Pontefract . . .
But those are all murderers.
Well yes, but they also have fascinating views on world trade and international development.
Many people suspect that you ordered Buckingham to have them murdered . . .
I have no recollection of that.
How do you think this interview is going?
I’m a celebrity, my kingdom for a horse.
Henry II, can we go back to this party you attended with the men who murdered Thomas Becket?
I never went to a party with them.
The celebratory dinner to mark their return from a penitent pilgrimage to the Holy Land?
Oh, that party. Well yes, but it was a very understated affair. Just me, them, a few killing songs and a chest of treasure for a job well done.
You met the murderers and took them a chest of treasure?
With the benefit of hindsight, that may have been wrong.
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, why have you asked us here today?
Well, Emily, there is no good time to talk about the Ripper Murders but that being the case, this seemed as good a time as any to talk about those unfortunate incidents.
Unfortunate incidents? These were brutal murders.
Yes, most unfortunate incidents.
Do you have any thoughts for the victims?
Not really . . . er, I mean, absolutely, my heart goes out to them.
Some may wonder why you spent so much time with East End prostitutes. Did you not feel that this was inappropriate?
No, because it was extremely useful in my mission as a social justice envoy. They were able to arrange for me to meet interesting people.
And sometimes you stayed over in their lodgings?
Only because it was convenient.
Now let me ask you about this daguerreotype of you with your arm around Annie Chapman, the second Ripper victim.
I do not know this woman. More importantly, this appears to have been taken upstairs in her home. Also, my people have checked this and they assure me that on the day she was murdered, I was actually taking my nieces to Ye Olde Pie Inn on Balmoral High Street.
That’s very specific. How can you remember something so mundane as going to a pie shop?
It may be mundane to you but you are talking to royalty here. We remember when we slum it.
Annie told friends that you visited three times and sweated profusely when you were together.
Aha, well there’s a problem there because ever since my time in the 10th Hussars, when I had a surfeit of adrenalin one night charging the stage at the Old Bull and Bush, I’ve been unable to sweat.
Well, you seem to be perspiring a bit now . . .
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