In the latest turn yet for the scandal-shaken Royal Family, Prince Charles vehemently denied being involved in an "unspecified incident that supposedly happened at Neverland" and that has been alluded to though never revealed in Britain's scandal-savvy press.
"I just want to make it entirely clear, even though I cannot refer to the ostensible specifics of the allegation, that it is totally untrue and without a shred of substance," Charles's private secretary Sir Michael Peat said in an interview.
A new statement was issued by Clarence House after consulting the prince's legal council. "It is most risible and entirely untrue. Although having said that, even unspecified allegations which are totally untrue do arouse the interest of the public," the professional advisors said.
The firm denial was apparently an attempt to kill off the outcome of the mystery scandal, but it apparently fuelled public curiosity as to just what the hell it was that the Prince claims he allegedly did not do at Neverland.
For months tough libel laws have prevented British newspapers from printing the details of the supposed scandal, since if the public knew details of the story it could bring down the monarchy and put an end to Michael Jackson's career.
Michael Jackson, a longtime friend of Prince Charles, made use of those laws to win a court order against an unnamed British tabloid to prevent it printing a story the paper said concerned "utter matters of the deepest public concern."
Until recently the Royal Family never commented, while wild speculation and unspecific hints continued unrelentingly in the media as to just what the story might be.
In its denial, Charles's office filled in some of the missing pieces. "There have been media reports concerning an allegation that an unnamed former Neverland employee witnessed an alleged incident some time ago involving a senior member of the Royal Family," it said in a statement. "The allegation was that the Prince of Wales and Michael Jackson were involved in the incident. This ridiculous allegation is absolutely untrue. The incident which the former employee claims to have witnessed did not take place at Neverland," the statement concludes.
Prince Charles then took the unusual step of issuing a statement naming himself as the senior royal at the center of unreported but persistent rumors and denying that he had ever been to Neverland.
A royal aide said the "totally ludicrous" rumors had to be denied because they were so widely known. But some observers said that by responding to gossip, the prince could be ensuring that the gossip eventually becomes common knowledge.
Michael Jackson was not immediately available for comment. His press spokesman said that "Michael is thrilled at the prospect that once the false rumors of these alleged incidents are dealt with, he could hold more sleepover parties with members of the Royal Family."