Former BBC Host Jimmy Savile Helped Invite Guests to Royal Party (Report)
LONDON – Late BBC host Jimmy Savile helped organize royal functions and draw up guest lists on behalf of Prince Charles, according to a British media report.
The former Top of the Pops presenter invited TV producers involved in an ITV telethon in 1988 to a cocktail party at the royal's central London residence Kensington Palace, according to a report in The Guardian. While Savile himself had not been involved with the telethon, of which Prince Charles was the host, and did not attend the party, he called around to issue invites.
In recent weeks, a group of people have come out and alleged that Savile sexually abused young girls when he was a BBC star.
The Guardian report didn't suggest that Prince Charles knew anything about such allegations, but it did add the royals to the widening group of people whose interactions with the late broadcaster have been discussed in recent weeks.
Paul Laing, former director of programs at Television South West, told the Guardian that he took one of Savile's calls about the event at the palace. Laing said several of his colleagues were also contacted, and some thought it was "weird" that Savile was involved in organizing a royal event.
"He was phoning to invite the producers, one from each station, to go to a cocktail party in Kensington Palace," Laing said. "He said he was phoning from the prince's office on behalf of Prince Charles. He said he had been asked to organize a get-together."
A spokesman for the royals and Prince Charles confirmed Savile's role. But he noted there was nothing unusual about Savile's help in organizing a royal party. "When the prince is patron of an event, we often ask people prominent within the relevant industry (in this case, television) to help us organize a reception to thank those who helped make the event such a success," the spokesman said.