Director Stephen Fry dismisses accusations his friendship with Prince CHARLES is based solely on the fact he's part of the British royalty - because he doesn't like the rest of his family.

The Bright Young Things film-maker, who was supported by Charles at the premiere of his new film in London on Sunday (28SEP03), has been pals with the heir to the throne for some years - and insists their friendship has nothing to do with the Prince's breeding, and all to do with his superior intellect.

Fry says, "I'm quite unembarrassed about (the friendship), because there are plenty of members of his family that I would not want to be friends with. I am really not, in that sense, creepy in any way.

"I judge him by the content of his character and he is, by any reckoning, a remarkable man. He knows an extraordinary amount about music, painting, science, the environment, the military.

"There are not many men I know who have such a passionate intellectual curiosity."

However, Fry admits his own appeal as a pal lies in his irreverence - likening himself to a court "jester".

He explains, "I am able to be slightly more shocking than many of his other friends. I can be rather cheeky if I see fit, which is, I suppose, just like being a licensed jester."

30/09/2003 17:20