On retainer to Prince Albert of Monaco
I think I understood the Prince’s psyche by now.
Only one day later, I jotted in my journal: Albert does not really care, [he’s] just going through the motions.
Even with increased funding, I wrote myself a note to terminate my service to the Prince on June 30th 2007, five years after it began, giving myself ten months to establish the micro-Europe intelligence association and the restructuring of SIGER.
And just two weeks later, after bouncing through London to Washington, D.C. to California and back again to London, then a delayed EasyJet flight from Luton to Nice, I scribbled: My heart no longer in this.
Back in M-Base, I was beset by new intrigue. Someone had begun a campaign of phoning chief of staff Jean-Luc Allavena's former employers to enquire about him.
Who had authorized this?
My source LIDDY had the answer, even though I asked him about it as an aside after plowing through a number of items on both our dockets. It wasn’t an answer he wanted to provide, but I went at it a number of ways, prepared not to let him leave M-Base until I knew.
LIDDY finally responded, couching it in whimsical hypothetical terms, but the answer was clear:
Thierry Lacoste was trying to dig whatever dirt he could on JLA with a view to having him replaced.
LIDDY had not thought to mention this on his own because he had not perceived it as a danger to our mission.
I corrected him: any threat to JLA was a threat to the good work we were doing in service to the Prince.
After LIDDY departed, I zapped an email to JLA saying I had an answer to the mystery we’d discussed.
JLA phoned me immediately and was utterly astonished by my news, having met for breakfast with Lacoste the morning before in Paris, and confiding in him to boot.
“You warned me when I arrived in November about Lacoste’s kitchen cabinet,” JLA said to me. “You were right.”
JLA instantly phoned the Prince to convey this information, and called me back. “The Prince wants to hear all the details from you.”
And next morning, indeed, the Prince phoned. “Doctor Eringer?”
“Yes, my patient.”
“I need an antidote for Thierry Lacoste.”
“I’m working on a cocktail.”
“That might ease the pain.”
That evening, I welcomed the Prince to M-Base. He seemed relaxed in a striped shirt and khaki trousers and freshly shaven head.
Over martinis, I related LIDDY's Lacoste story, trying to put everything into proper perspective—and deescalate the situation. “Everybody around you will constantly try to undercut everybody else around you in a never-ending war for greater access and influence,” I said. “Everybody especially wants to cut away at JLA, who now stands in the way of everyone who expected to reap much influence and power during your reign by merit of their friendship with you. Thierry Lacoste’s behavior was to be expected. My only surprise is that anyone is surprised.”
I reminded the Prince that Lacoste tried to do me in as well; that Lacoste had complained to him about me when I’d supposedly interfered in the Rotolo affair, after he’d asked me to assist, after his own incompetence had become obvious.
“The best thing,” I said, “is to avoid confrontation. As Walter Bagehot wrote in The English Constitution, royalty must rise above the fray to retain its mystique.” I added, “You’re good at this anyway.”
It was true. In addition to a pathological fear of commitment, the Prince suffered a pathological fear of confrontation.