Pictured: James Stunt
When the Daily Mail Diary disclosed last Saturday that Prince Charles’s controversial retainer Michael Fawcett had become close friends with James Stunt, royal watchers were aghast.
They were alarmed that a business relationship had been allowed to develop between Fawcett and socialite Petra Ecclestone’s flamboyant ex-husband.
However, now Stunt, who is the 36-year-old godson of convicted money launderer Terry Adams, has come forward to reveal the extent of their friendship.
Their arrangement involves Stunt lending paintings he has bought to Dumfries House, Charles’s £40 million stately home in Ayrshire which Fawcett runs.
In return, the heir to the throne writes numerous touching letters to Stunt, which he has framed and shows off in his office.
This week, Stunt gave an interview in which he boasted about the multi-million-pound works he had lent to Charles, who is not short of art, given that he’s heir to the Royal Collection, the biggest private collection in the world. ‘Works from the likes of Velazquez, Monet, van Dyck, Dali, Picasso and Constable — a wide array over a two-year period,’ Stunt told Tatler magazine.
‘There’s a Chagall went there recently. But it would be hypocritical to name the pieces when I said I didn’t want recognition.’
Fawcett, 55, who resigned not once but twice from the Royal Household, is said to have visited the £12 million London home of Stunt, who describes him as a ‘lovely man’.
Their arrangement involves Stunt lending paintings he has bought to Dumfries House, Charles’s £40 million stately home in Ayrshire which Fawcett runs
Dumfries House Trust’s executive director, Kenneth Dunsmuir, confirms it accepts loans from donors who ‘prefer to remain anonymous’. Yesterday, a spokesman refused to list the works owned by Stunt that are on display at Dumfries, which Charles ‘rescued for the nation’ in 2007.
Stunt’s fortune is the subject of much speculation. Although often described as a ‘billionaire’, his gold trading businesses never seem to make much money.
His ostentatious habits, such as being driven round London in a cavalcade of luxury cars, annoyed his former father-in-law, ex-Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone. Stunt brags about his fortune, claiming: ‘When people say, “He made a few millions” — well, hmm. Put a few hundreds in front of that.’
When the Daily Mail Diary disclosed last Saturday that Prince Charles’s controversial retainer Michael Fawcett had become close friends with James Stunt, royal watchers were aghast
However, speaking to the Daily Mail on Tuesday, Mr Ecclestone questioned Stunt’s claims. ‘I don’t know why he needed me to fund his business if he had all this money,’ he said. ‘He wanted someone to guarantee that he would pay the money back to the bank.
‘I guaranteed that he would be able to pay back the money and whatever — which he forgot to do. So I got stuck with the bill of paying for it. If he had all this money, why am I stuck with this money as the guarantor? You’d think