He’s gone from hero to zero in four decades.
Prince Andrew, reportedly the Queen’s favourite son, has gone from being a Falklands War hero in 1982 to disgraced friend of a convicted pedophile.
The Queen has taken away all his military patronages and he can no longer use the title “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity.
This week, his lawyers were unable to convince a U.S. court to dismiss allegations made by Virginia Giuffre that Andrew’s friend, Jeffrey Epstein, and Epstein’s girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, arranged for her to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 years old.
Andrew had hoped a 2009 payout of $500,000 (U.S.) by Epstein to Giuffre would get him off the hook for any further legal proceedings. The court said no, so her civil suit can proceed.
What is most shocking in this sleazy affair is that Andrew has not had the good sense to settle it. He vigorously denies all the allegations, despite a photograph purporting to show them together at Maxwell’s London house.
This comes at a sensitive time for the House of Windsor. Already, the core number of working Royals has been reduced by the decision of Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, to quit their royal lifestyle and flee to California.
Now Andrew’s no longer welcome on the ribbon-cutting circuit.
The Prince’s biography on his website says he was colonel in chief of three Canadian regiments — the Royal Highland Fusiliers in Cambridge, the Princess Louise Fusiliers in Halifax and the Queen’s’ York Rangers in Toronto, although you have to dig deep on their regimental websites to find any mention of him.
He’s also listed as a patron of the SickKids Foundation at the Hospital for Sick Children and the Friends of Lakefield College School in Peterborough, which he attended and where he says he spent the happiest days of his youth.
Andrew’s problem is that he keeps tripping on his own privilege. He just doesn’t get it. He gave a car crash interview to BBC journalists Emily Maitlis in 2019, in which he showed not the slightest sympathy with Epstein’s victims and made claims that he couldn’t have abused Giuffre because she’d said he perspired a lot. Andrew claims that after his Falklands war exploits, he has a condition that causes him not to sweat. He was mocked in the British media, who’ve spent the past two years checking his brow for perspiration.
The allegations against the Prince have not been tried in a court of law and Giuffre’s claim is a civil suit, not a criminal one.
This is a nightmare for the Queen, who, one suspects, had hoped to live out her years basking in the warm glow of her seven decades-long glorious reign. Instead, she’s taken the extraordinary step of cutting him loose in an attempt to stop his legal problems from tarnishing the Crown any further. It must be a painful decision for her.
There are plans for countless community events to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee — all of which will now be overshadowed by Andrew’s legal problems. His best hope is for an out-of-court settlement, although Giuffre has indicated she’s not interested in money.
Andrew has already been stripped of his royal allowances and has reportedly put his luxury Swiss ski chalet up for sale.
It’s only recently that the Queen has put her foot down on Andrew. As she increasingly hands over the reins to Prince Charles, you sense big brother is going to get much tougher on his younger sibling.
Charles has already let it be known he favours a leaner, greener monarchy. This gives him the opportunity to cut out Andrew and his family — including perhaps Princesses Eugene and Beatrice — for good.
No matter what any judge may rule, the court of public opinion has tried and convicted Andrew of unmitigated arrogance. He won’t be missed.