5 NOVEMBER 1988, Page 52

High life

We are not amused


0 ne of the reasons I'm almost happy to be flying off to the Big Bagel is that I shall thus be missing the newspaper cover- age of Fergie's return. Although I realise that news about the royals makes many suburbanites happy, the Fergie saga is getting too ridiculous for words. In fact I'm getting pretty tired of the whole tribe. Royals should be like well-behaved chil- dren: seen occasionally but almost never heard, and they certainly should not be allowed to go on the idiot box.

Not that I disagree with what Prince Charles said — on the contrary — just with his right to say it. Royals appearing on the box will do for the institution of monarchy what General Curtis LeMay did for Tokyo's architecture in the early Forties. Just imagine if Fergie's hubby decided to emulate his older brother and asked for equal time in order to give us his views on the incredible lightness of you-know-Koo. Think how embarrassing it would be if that little squirt Linley was given an hour to harangue us about the incredible lightness of modern chairs (or his own, for that matter). Finally, and God forbid, what would happen if Ronnie Ferguson went on the air to complain about the collapsing standards of clubs and the incredible light- ness of massages nowadays?

What would happen is that England would become the laughing stock of the Western world, a position now firmly held by the Olive Republic thanks to Papan- dreou and his bimbo. Incidentally, when Lord Carrington asked Papandreou last summer whether he was pleased the Democrats had nominated Dukakis, Papa- doc turned purple: 'He's not really Greek,' he spluttered, `and. furthermore he's a friend of my wife.'

Mind you, being a republican I'm hardly worried about the royal over-exposure, but at last I'm beginning to understand why Prince Charles insists on keeping the ban on Argie polo players. If Princess Di followed the example of Fergie's mother and sister, things could turn nasty. (A ten-year siege of Buenos Aires to get her back, followed by another ten-year pere- grination around the Kalahari. . . . But I digress.) When I was young I was a royalist. King George II led the fight against the dirty commies, as did his brother, King Paul, who succeeded him. What I didn't like was the fact that the Greek royals jumped when the Brits told them to. They left Greece because Churchill said so, leaving us behind to eat our dates and an occasion- al cat or dog. When Paul's son, Constan- tine, became King aged four, it was only a matter of time before the Byzantine Greek political scene got the better of him. Constantine had some very good friends, but also some real lulus. One of them, a smoothie by the name of Constantine Petalas, made Louis Basualdo seem decent by comparison. Petalas was a terrific craw- ler, still is as a matter of fact; and his kowtowing was catching. Half of Greek society was suffering from lumbago by the time Constantine lost his throne, due to excessive bowing and scraping. That is when I decided royalty was for the birds, and not for people with dignity.

Needless to say, I thoroughly approve of royals such as the Belgians, the Scandina- vians, and even the Dutch. I particularly like the fact that last month the Swedes rejected King Carl Gustaf XVI's request for special parking privileges which would have speeded the picking up of his dry- cleaning and groceries. Well done Sweden, for once. When Prince Philip and Princess Margaret get on their high horse, they should be sent by our sainted Prime Minister to Stockholm for a spell. It will teach them humility and better manners.

Last but not least, a word about the King of Spain. He has done a good job and he's a joy to behold, although his wife doesn't particularly like me. I sat next to her once on a Niarchos boat, and when I volun- teered my political opinions she called me a pest three times. Once in Greek, once in English, and I assume the last thing she called me was pest in Spanish. At least I hope so.