Of Her Majesty’s four children, Prince Andrew, Duke of York is unquestionably her favorite. Many a journalist and courtier speaking off the record have stated bluntly through the years that his mother’s continuing affection is one of his biggest problems. For its enabled His Royal Highness to act as boorishly and immaturely behind closed doors as he pleases. In essence, he’s the one child of the Queen’s who’s rumored to have never grown up. It’s perhaps because of the spoiling and enabling the Duke of York has enjoyed at the hands of his mother that he’s tended to gravitate toward friendships with businessmen whose chief attraction for Andrew is their ability to pamper him in the style to which he’s grown accustomed. That certainly appears to be the secret behind the one time close friendship between the Queen’s second son and billionaire American financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Despite being convicted for the solicitation of a 14 year old prostitute in 2008, and subsequently serving 13 out of an 18 month prison sentence, Epstein remained on good enough terms with Prince Andrew to host him for a weekend at his New York mansion in 2011. The media fallout resulting from this trip was such that Andrew was forced to resign his position as UK Special Representative for Trade and Investment. Since then His Royal Highness has both publicly claimed to have ended his friendship with Mr. Epstein, as well as proclaiming complete ignorance of the existence of a harem of under age sex slaves that Epstein kept at least until he became a registered sex offender. Prince Andrew has also maintained that he never came into contact with any of his friend’s teenaged concubines.
One of these former under age sex slaves, however, begs to differ with the Duke of York, and she’s detailed her alleged coerced sexual encounters with him in court papers filed last week in Florida as part of an ongoing civil action against the US prosecutors that struck a plea deal with Epstein in 2007. While listed in the documents as Jane Doe #3, the British press has wasted no time in exposing her as Virginia Roberts, a married mother of three who was 17 at the time she claims her assignations with Prince Andrew took place. Because one of these trysts, all of which occurred in 2001, took place in London, Scotland Yard is all but certain at this point to announce its own investigation concerning the matter. In terms of American jurisprudence, there’s no possibility of His Royal Highness one day being extradited to the States to stand trial because this is a civil, rather than a criminal, case. Buckingham Palace has taken the unprecedented step of issuing two public denials on Andrew’s behalf, iterating both times that he’s never engaged in untoward conduct with a minor. While the Queen has remained ensconced at her Sandringham estate for the remainder of her Christmas holiday, Andrew beat a hasty retreat from a skiing trip in Verbier, Switzerland with his ex-wife, daughters, and their friend Cressida Bonas, back to England where he’s said to be holed up with his lawyers at White Lodge, Windsor. Regardless of this case’s outcome, this latest scandal the Duke has become entangled in has only added to the growing chorus of royal commentators who feel it’s time for Her Majesty’s favorite son to be forcibly withdrawn from public duties, barred from receiving public financial support, and in essence exiled, either internally or externally.
One of the biggest mysteries concerning Her Majesty’s personality involves exactly what it is about her second son that she finds so damn lovable. For Prince Andrew’s appeal, beyond the physical attractiveness of his youth, has undoubtedly been lost on many of the people, particularly palace servants forced to endure his verbal abuse, that have suffered through his company virtually from his youth. One explanation that’s been bandied about by a handful of royal biographers, chief among them Lady Colin Campbell in her book, The Royal Marriages, is that Andrew is his mother’s favorite child owing to the fact that he’s the product of the Queen’s only long term extramarital affair. His reputed biological father is the late Henry Herbert, 7th Earl of Carnarvon. One cannot deny the startling resemblance between His Royal Highness and the late Earl, whose ancestral estate is the setting of the hit BBC series Downtown Abbey. According to Lady Campbell, the likeness between the Duke of York and his mother’s former race horse manager remains a strictly forbidden topic of conversation among Her Majesty’s courtiers. Furthermore, Elizabeth ll certainly had a valid reason for breaking her marriage vows in 1959, that is the year Prince Andrew was conceived. According to Nicholas Davies’ tome, Elizabeth ll, A Woman Not Amused, it was during the previous year that her husband embarked on his 20 year on/off affair with their mutual first cousin, Princess Alexandra of Kent. While Davies also chronicles the Queen’s affair, he insists it didn’t begin until the late Sixties, well after her two younger sons were born. While Prince Andrew’s paternity remains disputed, there’s no disputing that from the moment he was delivered from his mother’s womb Andrew has been the Queen’s pride and joy. Sarah Bradford states bluntly in her biography, Elizabeth, that the only reason why Prince Edward was born was so he could be a companion to his older brother, Andrew. There’s also no disputing that from earliest childhood Andrew has exploited his mother’s fondness for all it’s worth.
Wendy Berry, the former Highgrove estate servant of the Prince of Wales, has described some of the Duke of York’s private faux pas in her memoir, The Housekeeper’s Diary. From calling a servant an “idiot” over the phone to parading naked in front of another one, freely displaying what has been charitably described as a greatly exaggerated libido, Andrew’s sense of entitlement is considered obnoxious and tacky even by the standards of his own family. Andrew’s also reputed to have delighted in throwing live lobsters down the bikinis of young women at parties in the Caribbean during his bachelor days. Through it all, his vile stupidity has been suffered gladly by obsequious friends, lovers, servants and courtiers not wishing to lose favor with the Royal Family.
One such friend who undoubtedly valued the privileged access Prince Andrew could provide was American billionaire financier, Jeffrey Epstein. The two were introduced by Epstein’s former girlfriend, and rumored procuress, Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of disgraced publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, in London in the late Nineties. Epstein’s cultivation of Andrew apparently paid off; for not only was he the Prince’s guest at Sandringham, Windsor Castle and Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral Estate throughout the course of their friendship, but at one point Jeffrey reputedly boasted of the Queen being one of his secretive financial clients. It has since been alleged by various women that during that time, when they were all underage, Epstein was keeping them as sex slaves that he had trained to fulfill both his sexual desires and those of his influential friends and clients. Many have also alleged that Epstein would frequently make them recall their encounters with VIPs to him as a form of potential blackmail.
Many of these teenaged girls were recruited as masseuses by Ghislaine Maxwell. It was only after their employment began that they discovered the true purpose they were intended to serve. One of these under age women was a 17 year old named Virginia Roberts. According to a recent Daily Mail article entitled Andrew and the under age ‘Sex Slave’ written by Samuel Greenhill, Daniel Bates and Rebecca English, Virginia was recruited into the sex ring by Maxwell after they met at a Spa in Florida in 2001. She claims to have first met Prince Andrew in London where she was informed by Maxwell that His Royal Highness had taken a liking to her, and that she was his designated companion for the evening. Epstein further made it clear to her that she was to give Prince Andrew “whatever he wanted.” Upon being introduced, Ms. Roberts claims that Prince Andrew announced to her that he could guess her age. He then stated she was 17. She congratulated him on his correct guess.
After an evening spent at a club called Tramps, the couple returned to Epstein’s mansion where they had sex. While not going into too much detail, the court documents filed by her attorneys reveal that Virginia found Andrew’s sexual performance forced, mechanical and passionless. In essence, he made no secret through his behavior that she was, as far as he was concerned, there to be used and nothing more. While she states that His Royal Highness never personally remunerated her for her services, Epstein gave her several thousand dollars the next day. He made it clear the money was being paid for services rendered. A similar tryst occurred between Ms. Roberts and Prince Andrew a few months later at Epstein’s mansion in New York. Virginia states her final conjugal encounter with the Duke of York occurred during an orgy on Jeffrey Epstein’s private Caribbean island. She was told to engage in sex acts with several obviously underaged Russian girls who couldn’t speak English while Epstein and His Royal Highness looked on. Virginia then performed “a sex act” on Prince Andrew without being specific in the court document as to what the act was.
It’s well known that the Duke of York, along with various other powerful and influential friends of Jeffrey Epstein’s aggressively lobbied US federal prosecutors in 2007 to ensure that their friend was not only able to plea bargain for a lesser charge of solicitation of a minor, but that a “non-prosecution agreement” was included in the plea bargain stipulating that none of Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators would ever have to testify on his behalf. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why His Royal Highness and his fellow cohorts would go to such lengths to protect their friend and themselves. Ms. Roberts’ recent court filing also reveals that an unnamed, yet well known, prime minister was among the men entertained by Epstein’s sex slaves.
While Prince Andrew’s alleged private misbehavior is reprehensible enough, the case for him being permanently removed from public duties is only further buttressed by his lackluster performance as first Britain’s official, and since 2011 its unofficial, trade envoy. As Richard Palmer makes all too clear in his recent commentary for the Daily Express entitled Prince Andrew and his past controversies are still challenging the Royal Family, His Royal Highness’ foray into British international trade relations has left much to be desired. Nicknamed “His Buffoon Highness” by exasperated British diplomats, His Royal Highness has repeatedly made a fool out of himself, and wasted British taxpayer’s money, while representing his mother’s government abroad.
Sir Ivor Roberts, president of Trinity College, Oxford and a former multiple post serving British ambassador, who accompanied Andrew on a trip to Rome, is quoted as stating the Prince’s brusqueness and rudeness offended several important officials. Simon Wilson, the former deputy head of the UK mission in Bahrain, recalls a near disastrous 2002 meeting with that nation’s King in which Andrew tried to convince him that he could rent, rather than buy, British made Hawk aircraft. Wilson is quoted stating his disbelief that the Queen’s son was attempting to discourage the sale of British weaponry instead of encouraging it. The fact that Andrew seems incapable of remembering or sticking to a diplomatic brief prior to meeting foreign diplomats, often for the purpose of selling military equipment, hasn’t scored him further brownie points with Her Majesty’s Foreign Office.
Then of course, there’s the vexing issue of Andrew’s personal relationships with various foreign heads of state and businessmen that have led to some highly questionable business deals. Many a government official still wishes to launch an investigation into the 2007 sale of the Duke of York’s Sunninghill estate to Timur Nazarbayev, the son-in-law of the Kazakh president, for £15 million, which was £3 million over its asking price. Andrew’s cavalier response to the press questioning the circumstances of the sale, referring to his former country house’s owner as a gift horse he didn’t wish to look in the mouth, only caused further ire. The situation hasn’t been helped by the fact that the estate has stood derelict since its sale. Any talk of a government inquiry, however, has been stymied out of respect for the Monarchy.
It’s also long been suspected His Royal Highness is an influence peddler who charges high under the table fees for introductions. When his ex-wife was exposed doing the same thing in 2010 to an undercover tabloid reporter she thought was a middle eastern businessman, she was caught on tape making it clear that her husband had suggested she start charging for high level introductions to him, and that as long as the businessman took care of her, she would ensure Prince Andrew took care of him. It was during that same year that Sarah, Duchess of York also received a cash gift of £15,000 from Jeffrey Epstein to pay off a debt. While she publicly apologized for both incidents, there are many who believe she was merely her ex-husband’s fall guy, and that his financial improprieties are far more egregious than hers.
Many a reader of this blog will recall the two posts its author has previously written concerning Belgium’s Prince Laurent. In many ways, he has much in common with Prince Andrew. They both were born into rumored adulterous circumstances in which their paternity is questionable, they’ve both abused their positions as senior ranking royals, they’ve both been accused of being sex offenders, and many in their respective countries feel it’s time for them to be removed from the public stage. The author must admit he conquers with this opinion. In Andrew’s case, he’s been given ample opportunity to prove his worth to the Monarchy and the British people, and he’s failed every time. The grandest irony of his life is that he’s proven the most embarrassing and useless among the Queen’s children, yet most of his bad behavior has been inadvertently aided and abetted by Her Majesty because he’s Mummie’s favorite. Many a courtier and government official has also chosen to enable him for this reason. While it’s doubtful that he will ever be charged with a crime on either side of the Atlantic, it nonetheless behooves Her Majesty to preserve the painstakingly restored prestige of the Monarchy and the Royal Family by restricting the Duke of York to the background. Now that the Prince of Wales has taken on more of a leadership role within the Monarchy than ever before, perhaps he should be the one to hand his little brother the metaphorical pink slip? It certainly won’t be the first time that the Queen has relied on someone else to do her dirty work.