The Royal Wee
updated 07/17/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/17/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT
It was also just the start of a new round of troubling publicity for the 46-year-old prince. Hours after his alleged Expo-sure—which Hanover authorities are investigating—a flush-faced Ernst August collapsed at a piano recital and was taken to a hospital. Not long after that, he entered a German health center that offers massage and stress-management treatments. (Neither the prince nor Caroline, 43, who was seen at the center, had any comment.) The prince then phoned Bild from the center and, using vulgar language, harangued a female editor. (That incident is also being investigated.) "He's not a bad person," says a royal watcher who shares friends with Ernst August. But, he adds, "he seems to be lacking some kind of inner equilibrium."
The prince—who made headlines in January for punching out a restaurant-and-bar owner—took out a full-page ad in a German newspaper explaining that he did relieve himself but not on Turkish property. Since then he has kept a low profile, skipping a sculpture exhibition in Monaco that Caroline attended with her father, Prince Rainier, who has kept a dignified silence about the scandal. "He is temperamental," says one veteran Monaco watcher of Ernst August, "and he seems to care primarily about enjoying himself."