Madeleine McCann’s Parents: The Real Royal Couple?

Four years after a British girl disappeared, there are more questions than answers

April was a busy time for the Royal Couple. Preparations had been underway for months to deal with all the publicity that was sure to come. Facebook pages were established, marketing pieces created, a book written and carefully scripted interviews arranged, as publicists and advisors worked round-the-clock for the famous British duo. No detail was too small when planning such a momentous event, as the global media once again turned its focus on two of Great Britain’s most … interesting people.

Most amazing, all of this was accomplished despite the distractions caused by the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

May 3rd marked the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of then-three-year-old Madeleine McCann, who disappeared from a resort in southern Portugal because her parents chose to leave her—and her two younger twin siblings—alone in an unlocked room while they ate dinner with friends.

But when you’re Gerry and Kate McCann, you take a backseat to no one, and certainly no wedding is going to upstage your “anniversary.” And so, in typical McCann fashion, they put on another strong display of offense in the ongoing “search”—whether for their missing daughter, or for self-promoting headlines.

Who can blame them? Playing defense is no fun, doesn’t raise money nor generate publicity. And best of all, blaming everyone but themselves for an eminently preventable tragedy allows the McCanns to ignore reality about a poor little girl’s horrible fate.


For the folks needing a refresher, you read it right. The McCanns, both physicians from Rothley, Leicestershire, in England, left their three children—with a COMBINED age of seven—alone in their ground-floor resort apartment. Despite ample financial resources, they failed to bring a nanny, and did not utilize the resort’s babysitting services.

Instead, they left the children to go it on their own, entrusting Madeleine with her two siblings. Hey, I’m all for self-reliance, but, she was three!

The story perpetuated by the McCanns is that Madeleine was kidnapped. The tragic nature of a girl gone missing gained international attention, and the search was on. Well, at least by the people who were actually out there looking for Madeleine.

Gerry and Kate took a different approach. Rather than get bogged down in the grunt work of looking for their daughter in places she might actually be—assuming for a minute that she was kidnapped—the parents apparently decided that becoming international globetrotting celebrities was a lot more fun. Putting blood, sweat and tears into finding a missing child is tough, but hanging out with celebs and dignitaries to raise money for the search is, well, cool!

Despite initially being named suspects by the Portuguese police based on evidence that raised eyebrows—including reports of Madeleine’s blood found in the trunk of a car the McCanns’ rented 25 days AFTER she disappeared—the McCanns were cleared for lack of evidence and the case suspended without any arrest. And for that, presumably, we can thank the British government that exerted enormous pressure on the Portuguese to exonerate their “upstanding” citizens.

With the complicity of the British media, everyone but the parents was blamed for Madeleine’s disappearance. The Portuguese detectives bumbled the investigation, the resort’s security was too lax, leads weren’t followed up in a timely fashion. And as numerous publications discovered, those who dared question the McCanns’ role were slapped with libel lawsuits by England’s most powerful barristers. And don’t forget the lead Portuguese investigator who was legally banned from giving interviews and publishing his book (those rulings were subsequently overturned) and was sued for almost $2 million in “damages.”

Kate’s book on the affair (rumors briefly spread that she was assisted by world-famous Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling) will be released this week. In it, she blames the resort restaurant for making a note in its reservation book that the McCanns wanted a table within sight of the room, since the children would be alone.

The reservation book “was by definition accessible to staff and, albeit unintentionally, probably to guests and visitors, too … To my horror, I saw that, no doubt in all innocence, the receptionist had added we wanted to eat close to our flats as we were leaving our young children alone there, checking on them intermittently.”

Nice try, Kate. But somehow, you forgot to mention the “horror” your daughter must have felt after being abandoned by her parents, left alone in an unfamiliar environment in a foreign nation. It seems the tapas were more important than your three children, two of whom, interestingly enough, weren’t “kidnapped.”

So we’re supposed to believe that a child kidnapper just happened to be dining at the resort’s restaurant that night, on the off-chance some British couple’s child-care arrangements (or lack thereof) would be recorded in the restaurant’s reservation book—and that the reservation book would just happen to be open in public view.

Either that, or someone on the kitchen staff, waiting in the wings for one of the McCanns to return from checking on the children. Maybe that’s why the tapas were so late in being served!

Frankly, I’m surprised that Osama bin Laden snatching Madeleine wasn’t in the book as a potential theory. Or that evil Voldemort from Harry Potter wasn’t somehow responsible.

Which brings us back to Rowling.

After a flurry of articles repeating the rumor that Rowling was helping Kate write the book, the family spokesman finally got around to stating that Rowling did not, in fact, have ANY role in the book.

But as they say, “Any publicity is good publicity!” And Team McCann rolls on, garnering headlines and raking in the dough.


Perhaps most ironic is Kate’s stated reason for the book:

“My reason … is simple, to give an account of the truth.”

Rowling’s help or not, discovering the real story behind the disappearance of little Madeleine McCann will take more than wizards and magic. Too bad we don’t have one of Harry Potter’s Remembralls, which fans will recall is the clear orb containing smoke that turns red when detecting that the user has forgotten something.

In Gerry and Kate McCann’s case, I’m betting the Remembrall would be glowing red-hot.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, His extensive collection of columns hammering the McCanns for their negligence can be found in his website’s archives. Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.” Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia magazine and nationally in
Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national/international television. He can be reached at