Prince Andrew’s alleged misdeeds could cost the Queen dearly
Queen Elizabeth’s personal wealth is estimated at 440 million pounds ($550 million). She will no doubt do whatever it takes to keep her most cherished son out of the accused box.
Not that Prince Andrew is poor. His net worth has been pegged at around 32.5 million pounds ($55 million). And he received an annual stipend of around 250,000 pounds ($400,000) from mum, for performing royal duties as part of ‘The Firm’. But now he’s been fired from the family business, so there’s this money.
Even stripped of the title of His Royal Highness, at least in practice, but not officially stripped of the honorific aristocratic title. Much like Diana, through divorce, and Harry and Meghan, fleeing the clutches of the House of Windsor, were also shorn. But Diana will get HRH back when William is king, he swore to himself.
What can never be restored or rehabilitated is Andrew’s reputation and character, which was not of lofty stature long before the prince was dragged into the toxic orbit of daring sex traffickers. It’s been pretty much awash in scandals and fiascos since returning from the Falklands War as a hero navy helicopter pilot and the ensuing unhappy marriage to Sarah Ferguson, the dirtiest of all appendages of the royal in-laws. (She once offered an undercover journalist posing as a businessman a meeting with her ex – for almost a million dollars) Although estranged, they continued to share a mansion in Great Windsor Park.
Chronically sleazy and laddish, with a healthy dollop of privilege, Randy Andy’s rep is beyond shreds. He’s deep in the creeps business as he tries to fight charges of forced sex with a minor Virginia Giuffre’s civil lawsuit was cleared by a New York judge last week. Giuffre alleged she was pimped at age 17 by Andrew’s longtime friends, the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his former accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell – a pimp and groomer for victims. A bid to have the suit thrown out has been, well, thrown out, with Judge Lewis Kaplan ruling that the terms of the $500,000 (US) deal struck between Giuffre and Epstein over a decade ago – to avoid a another civil lawsuit – did not protect Andrew from this legal action.
He will, however, be alone, as Buckingham Palace made clear in a brutally laconic statement released on Thursday. “The Duke of York will continue to hold no public office and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
This is the disclaimer. In truth, Andrew will probably have to pull his mother’s purse strings.
Andrew, ninth to the throne, was also stripped of all military affiliations and royal patronages, which were “returned to the Queen”. Among these many military affiliations is his position as Commander-in-Chief of three Canadian regiments, not including the disbanded Canadian Airborne. Now the MP for York City is even asking Andrew to relinquish his Duke of York title. Un-duking Andrew would require an Act of Parliament.
The 61-year-old jowly has been gutted since a 45-minute encounter with his mother last week, apparently not receiving an ounce of mercy from his brother Charles, the Prince of Wales, or William, who are both eager to be get away from this mess.
According to reports from a Fleet Street feast, Andrew is being asked to settle with Giuffre before the case enters the discovery phase, where he would be grilled by his lawyers, under oath and on video. If he refuses to cooperate, he could be put in default, the judge ruling against him in his absence, qualified as a sexual aggressor and ordered to pay compensation. He could not be extradited but, even if he never set foot in the United States again, Andrew would spend the rest of his life being pursued by bailiffs. In the coming days, Andrew is expected to learn whether Giuffre’s lawyers will seek to depose other members of the Royal Family, in particular Sarah and the couple’s two daughters.
At the very least, Andrew is asked to spare his poor mother more shame and heartache.
Frankly, it’s inconceivable that he would ever see the inside of an American courtroom. But the beloved 95-year-old ruler, who will celebrate her platinum jubilee this summer, has surely been pushed to the absolute limit of what she can endure. For her, more than any other, Andrew is being implored to pre-emptively respond to a financial request which, according to speculation, could reach $15 million (US). Which should come from the Queen’s fortune.
Andrew was the child she loved the most, her golden boy, born when she was more comfortable with the monarchy and motherhood. “Andrew has always been the Queen’s favorite son and he has never done anything wrong in her eyes,” Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell said in ‘The Royal Family at War’ documentary.
But even she must cringe.
The poor woman thought 1992 – the year of the great fire at Windsor Castle – was her Annus horribilis. It barely holds a candle to 2021.
Widowed after more than seven decades of marriage to Prince Philip. The photo of Elizabeth grieving at her husband’s funeral, sitting alone – physically distant, wearing a black mask – was heartbreaking. For the first time in memory, she was forced by doctors to miss scheduled appearances after a brief stay in hospital. The woman has extraordinary stamina, but she is a nonagenarian, after all.
Yet as the Queen observed all pandemic protocols, with a country plunged into repeated lockdowns, her ministers and government officials enjoyed alcohol-infused kneeling rallies at 10 Downing Street and Westminster. They were breaking restrictions put in place for everyone else, including a party on the eve of Philip’s funeral, when the nation was in official mourning. As hoi polloi faced severe restrictions, socializing banned, political moguls were having a good time, with conservative shindigs becoming so routine they were known as “Wine-Time Fridays.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in the midst of a crisis.
For the disrespectful transgression ahead of Philip’s funeral, a spokesman for 10 Downing on Friday issued an unprecedented apology to the Queen. “It is deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning.”
It’s the least of his worries.
Her ignobly capricious son is the dagger of her heart.