Netflix Documentary Claims Prince Charles Sought Jimmy Savile's Advice

Photo credit: Tim Ockenden/PA Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Ockenden/PA Images - Getty Images

English media personality Sir Jimmy Savile sexually abused hundreds of victims throughout his life. The news of this abuse—the Metropolitan Police put the total number of victims at 589, with the vast majority of his victims under age 18—only emerged after his death, and his life and crimes are detailed in Netflix's Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, a miniseries directed by Rowan Deacon.

One revelation of the new Netflix documentary is Savile's decades-long association with Prince Charles. According to the Times, Deacon "gained access to dozens of letters in which the prince regularly sought guidance from the presenter."

On January 14, 1987, Prince Charles wrote to Savile, "Perhaps I am wrong, but you are the bloke who knows what’s going on. What I really need is a list of suggestions from you. I so want to get to parts of the country that others don’t get to reach." Between 1986 and 2006, Savile reportedly acted as an unofficial advisor to Charles.

In 1989, Savile wrote "Guidelines for Members of the Royal Family and Their Staffs," a five-page document detailing how he believed the royal family "should respond to significant incidents." In a note from Charles to Saville, he says he showed the memo on disasters to Prince Philip and his father, in turn, showed it to Queen Elizabeth.

Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story filmmakers believe that this document was in response to Prince Andrew's comments following the Lockerbie disaster, when he said, "I suppose statistically something like this has got to happen at some stage...Of course it only affects the community in a very small way."

"It reignited a discussion about how the royal family should respond to disasters," the director told the Times. "Jimmy Savile wrote this dossier, quite an in-depth document of advice, on how the Queen should behave and how members of the royal family should not be in competition with each other."

In one letter dated April 16, 1990, Charles says, "You are so good at understanding what makes people operate and you’re wonderfully sceptical and practical! Can you cast an eye over this draft and let me know how you think we can best appeal to people on this score?" In another letter dated July 4, 1991, Charles writes, "Dear Jimmy, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the most useful assistance you...provided for my speech in the Guildhall the other day."

Like the rest of Britain, Prince Charles likely had no knowledge of Savile's crimes.

"He was duped, like we all were," Deacon says. "The letters show the trust that Prince Charles put into Jimmy Savile. He was trying to appeal to the British people, trying to modernise. And he saw Jimmy Savile as his conduit to that. In hindsight, that was catastrophic."

Watch on Netflix

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