Saturday, April 28, 2012

Prince and Priest

While we’re talking things Australian, Charles and bygone days, set the Wayback Machine to 1979, Sherman, for  Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia . . .

That was the year that Prince Charles, the 30 year old heir to the throne of England, was taking an early morning dip in the surf during a tour of Australia.  Bikini babe and model Jane Priest, 26, ran up to him, grabbed him and planted a kiss on him.  The startled Prince kept his hands and arms well away from her scantily clad body. . .

99.9% of the population have always suspected a set up in the ambush, that the meeting was planned and that it was not a lucky coincidence that Flash, Bang, Wallop!, a photographer happened to be at the beach, in the right spot at the precise moment to record the happy scene.  Obviously the event was staged for the benefit of publicity and PR value and that Jane priest, the model, was the person responsible.

In 2005, on another tour of Australia, Charles commented in an interview with the ABC radio news program AM, “Apart from having the most marvellous recollections of my previous visits here in years gone by, recollections of swimming very early in the morning down the beach when one or two people were detailed off to run up from the surf and do unmentionable things to me.”

That same year, 2005, the truth emerged:  it was a set up for publicity purposes, a staged event, but not by Jane Priest.  The whole thing was the work of Charlie and his minders.

In 1979 Charles was in need of a public makeover.  He was shy, reserved and awkward, not a dashing, eligible bachelor or a force on the world scene.  He was a prince in waiting, destined someday to assume the throne but seen by the public as being an aristocratic stuffed shirt.

What better to enhance Chezza’s image than for a beach babe to run across the beach, hug and kiss him whilst he is surfing.  So thought the palace suits who hired Ms Priest to do the deed.

In an interview in 2005 with London's Evening Standard, she commented:

"It's when I see pictures of Charles that it all comes flooding back. I was in my mid-twenties, here was one of the most powerful men in the world and he was absolutely adorable. I was totally overawed for those couple of minutes.  My meeting with Charles on the beach wasn't my suggestion, it was theirs.  It was a PR thing to try and make Charles more accessible. It was a set-up photograph of the Prince of Wales meeting an Australian native, but he threw a spanner in the works.  When he saw me he dived into the water, so I thought I'd follow him in, but as I went in, he got out. So I followed him out, hair ruined, make-up ruined, and I felt like such an idiot. I actually went and put my hands on his chest to give him a kiss and Charles said: 'No, I can't touch you, I can't touch you.'"
The spin succeeded, Charles made the front page of most Western newspapers.

Ms Priest also revealed in the interview that:

·         After having been picked for the job, she met with Prince Charles the night before The Kiss On The Beach to make sure that she was suitable.

·         A single mother at the time, her 5 year old son was sitting on the beach building sandcastles.  He is now a scientist.

·         Ms Priest continued as a successful model, obtained a degree in Fine Arts and worked in television.  She married and declared herself “deliriously happy”.

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