Memories of Elizabeth II: Stories by Maxim Behar
PR expert and diplomat Maxim Behar appeared on bTV's “This Sunday” show, where he shared his personal memories with the new King of Great Britain. Behar talked about what lies ahead from here on and promised to do everything possible for King Charles to visit Bulgaria again.
Host: Let's start with that. How will you remember Queen Elizabeth II?
Maxim: I had a long correspondence with the Queen, as one of my very few unfulfilled dreams was to invite her to visit Bulgaria. Along with the Tsar, who was then Prime Minister, of course, we would also involve the President, whoever he was. I had a very long correspondence with Buckingham. I provided bTV with one of the letters from the private secretary yesterday. He told me that unfortunately the Queen was not planning a visit to Bulgaria. This was 2005, she was already of a certain age, but nevertheless I continued to insist and Tsar Simeon motivated me a lot in this. Either way, her son was twice here, the current king. I hope he will remember his visits to Bulgaria, we will talk about them later.
Host: Mr. Behar, do you have personal impressions of King Charles III?
Maxim: I have met in it many times. The footage you are showing now is being shown in Bulgaria for the first time. I didn't know I had this video, and when we learned of the Queen's death last week, I started digging through my archives to see what pictures I had. And that's the video you're seeing right now. This is the second visit of Prince Charles to Bulgaria. After a very long lunch we had with him at St. James's Palace, from where he was proclaimed king yesterday. At this lunch, we discussed various things related to Bulgaria and business for a long time. And finally, when he was walking me out, which by the way impressed me a lot, he said to me "Maybe I will come to Bulgaria again, but I have a problem with my protocol because a member of our family cannot visit a country outside the British Commonwealth twice for 5 years", and only 4 years had passed. And now you see me handing him the Business Leaders Forum badge of honor that was made by me - 22 carat gold. He then wrote me a letter saying that he had it in his personal collection. I hope it goes from St. James to Buckingham. One small detail – entering St. James, I had to empty my pockets and it was known that I was entering with no phone, no nothing. As many people know, I'm a man toy geek, and at the time I had a very modern phone. And when he was sending me off, I took all my belongings out of my closet - phone, business cards, and so on. He suddenly said, "Can I see this phone", started looking at it and asked me how much it cost. We stayed with him for another 15 minutes talking about phones, which means that he is a person who, like all of us, is interested in new things, in interesting things. I hope he will be the "modern" king.
Address of Prince Charles to the Bulgarians: Mr. Prime Minister, ladies, and gentlemen, I really can't help but be fascinated to be back here in Bulgaria again. As you heard, in the same hall I was in last time, I have not had the opportunity to be in another hotel in Sofia. I can't believe it's been 4-5 years since then. Time really went by so fast. I know that many things have changed for Bulgaria since I was here. I look forward to seeing some of the changes in the next two days. There are definitely more people in this room than there were last time, which I guess is a good sign.
Host: Mr. Behar, from the height of this aristocracy and class, I want to bring you back to the day-to-day news. You are a media person, and you are the king of all social platforms. Tell me why, in your opinion, statements and comments such as "What do we care about the death of the Queen" appeared?
Maxim: We can answer, of course, all of them, as I know that both the television and your show have a huge audience. Of course, we care. It's world news, it's a world leader. King Charles will be a world leader, he will be the head of state not only of an incredible country like Great Britain, but he will also be the chairman of the British Commonwealth - a hundred countries in which about 3 billion people live. Naturally, this is very important. I return to this visit of Prince Charles. You know, he arrived in Bulgaria after we arranged it at St. James's Palace, with 50-60 businessmen, with all possible TV channels, all newspapers. Bulgarians remember very well the British invasion to buy properties. Bansko, Pamporovo, Black Sea. There were between 40,000 and 60,000 British people who bought property in Bulgaria in the most difficult years, when real estate was very cheap, but we needed these people to come and leave their money, their culture, to invest. And that was the reason - the visit of Prince Charles. A few years later, a very big investor arrived in my office and at the end of the conversation I asked him "Why Bulgaria?". It's a normal question I ask any foreigner, and he turned and said, "Are you serious?" You were there. He came with us, he invited us, we saw your country". The more such visits, connections, and conversations, the better. This is the case with what Prince Charles did in 2003.
Host: In your opinion, what kind of world awaits us from tomorrow? Even in the context of the anniversary of 9/11 and the week Queen Elizabeth left us. How will the world change?
Maxim: I will tell you my very optimistic prediction. We have very difficult years ahead of us, the total end of the consumer society. We will all become pragmatists and I think that will make societies stronger because we will mobilize to fight, to earn better, to pay taxes, to make our countries better. There is nothing terrible in this, that we have difficult years ahead of us. We should all know that they will be very difficult indeed, not only because there will be no gas, oil and so on. It's just that we will change, we will fight against fake news, which is very important. The war will no longer be on the borders with tanks and guns, although unfortunately that is exactly the kind of war being fought. The war will be on social media. We will become better people, stronger people because hard times make strong people.
Host: Finally, in one word, will you be able to bring King Charles III to Bulgaria again.
Maxim: I cannot give a very optimistic forecast, but I can promise that I will do my best, since I have his personal coordinates, and I will try, hopefully with the help of Tsar Simeon II.
Watch the whole interview here.