A certain German family is just one of 800,000 who are seeking compensation for property seized by the Russians and East Germans after World War II. But the members of this particular family are descendants of Kaiser Wilhelm, and historians are divided on whether the Kaiser’s son Wilhelm, Prince of Prussia, “significantly advance[d]” the Nazi cause. At stake is $21 million worth of land, artwork, and palaces.

“The search for an answer has opened ancient wounds, sparked more than 100 lawsuits, divided German politics, and pitted some of the leading experts on the period against one another,” wrote Oliver Moody in The Times of London. The current head of the royal dynasty, Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, recently showed the newspaper a private memoir written by Wilhelm, his great-grandfather, “confident that it speaks for itself as the self-portrait of a man who always maintained a certain distance from Hitler and the Nazis.”

Among Wilhelm’s recollections of his first meeting with Hitler, in 1930: “[A] man of middling height in a worn blue suit. His linen was not very clean, and his hair hung down over his brow…. [He was] unable to sit still on his chair, always leaping up … and walking around the room in a state of agitation…. It was also very difficult [to have] a reasonable discussion with him because on every subject he would immediately give a lecture as though he were speaking in front of some people’s assembly.”

James Bond (Sean Connery) and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell).

An early draft screenplay of Moonraker, written by Ian Fleming six years before any of his 007 books were filmed and 23 years before that particular one was, has resurfaced as part of a James Bond collection assembled by two antiquarian bookshops. It’s not quite the same on-screen 007 we came to know: according to the expert Jon Gilbert, the Fleming screenplay is “much more serious” than the one eventually filmed as Moonraker, reflecting the Cold War era it was written in.

“Just as in the novel, Bond is portrayed as a cold-hearted assassin, but Fleming makes some changes,” reported The Guardian. “The head of the British secret intelligence service is not called ‘M’, and more closely resembles an affable 1950s city gent than the gruff character of the novels and films.” Also: “M’s flirtatious secretary, Miss Moneypenny, is conspicuous by her absence.”

Getting booted from the podium at La Scala in February for having refused to condemn Russia’s Ukraine invasion was just the beginning for Valery Gergiev. Next he was relieved of his duties as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, and tours of Europe and the United States were canceled. “No surprise,” according to The Times of London. Gergiev, who had once been chief conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, had long “married his international standing with an unofficial role as court conductor to the Kremlin, burnishing the glory of the Russian leader as the ode writers of Catherine the Great’s court once did.”

The newspaper reported also that the Moscow-based, Alexei Navalny–founded Anti-Corruption Foundation claims in a new documentary that Gergiev “has embezzled millions of pounds’ worth of funds from his own charity and used the money to build an extensive property portfolio,” specifically that the conductor used money from the Valery Gergiev Charity Foundation (established to “support talented young musicians”) to “buy luxury properties, charter private jets and even pay his home utility bills.”

At cross-purposes?

The two neighboring papal courts are at it, according to a new book by Massimo Franco. “After Benedict became the first pontiff in six centuries to relinquish his office, Pope Francis described his predecessor as a ‘wise grandfather’ whose presence and advice were a blessing,” reported The Times of London. “Benedict, now 95, treated Francis, 85, with deference, insisting there was only one Pope and he would assist him by becoming invisible and silent.” But the honeymoon ended, said the newspaper, when “conservatives and progressives diverged over Francis’s modernisation programme, [and] Benedict began to be seen ‘almost as a counterweight to the doctrine of the Argentine Pope’, eventually becoming a beacon of resistance for Francis’s traditionalist enemies.”

If you haven’t read Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, you’re not alone. The much-hyped 2020 unofficially official biography of the couple, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand with the indirect cooperation of the Duchess of Sussex, hasn’t been racking up big numbers, according to the Daily Mail.

“Scobie’s business is in the red,” wrote Richard Eden. “[His] firm, MeYou Ltd, faced a ‘compulsory strike-off’ after Scobie, 40, failed to provide legally required financial information since 2019. Late last week, he filed three sets of accounts in one go — and the latest reveals a deficit of £17,000 [$21,000] … While his hagiographic book went into cringe-making detail about Harry’s romance with the American former actress, his company accounts for 2021 comprise just two pages, with only one containing any numbers.” Scobie, who is royal editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar and royal contributor to ABC News, “is not a details man,” continued Eden. “In August 2020, he told The Times he had ‘just turned 33’. Then, he said he was 38. [The business registrar] Companies House stated that he was born in July 1981, making him 39, at that time.”

Eden also reported that the Duchess’s possible relaunch of her pre-royal lifestyle Web site, the Tig, has been delayed at least six months because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office found her description “too broad.” Also, she forgot to sign the application.

Edward Gorey on the set he designed for the Broadway revival of Dracula, in 1977.

The Edward Gorey House is campaigning to have the artist, who died in 2000, honored with an overdue postage stamp in time for the centennial of his birth, in 2025. “‘Eccentric’ isn’t strong enough to describe the writer, illustrator, puppeteer and theatre designer known to some as the ‘Grandfather of Goth’,” noted The Guardian. “The late ballet fanatic stalked 1960s and 70s New York in ripped jeans, raccoon fur coat, costume jewelry and an Edwardian beard, and kept a mummified head stored in a closet…. Gorey created more than 100 tiny books filled with morbid, camp, Victorian-style crosshatch etchings, including The Glorious Nosebleed, The Fatal Lozenge and The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which dispatched children in rhyming couplets (beginning ‘A is for Amy who fell down the stairs’ and ending ‘Z is for Zillah who drank too much gin’).” Really, as the newspaper correctly concluded, why has it taken so long? —George Kalogerakis

George Kalogerakis, one of the original editor-writers at Spy, later worked for Vanity Fair, New York, and The New York Times, where he was deputy op-ed editor. A co-author of Spy: The Funny Years and co-editor of Disunion: A History of the Civil War, he is a Writer at Large for AIR MAIL