How Prince Andrew's follies have shown the royal family who its friends are
2 January 2015
by Fraser Nelson
This is an archive piece from 12 March, 2011:
To enemies of the monarchy, Prince Andrew presents the perfect target. He has an array of vices: a love of the high life, a weakness for unsavoury company, a painfully short list of achievements and a talent for finding his way into newspapers. His foreign trips have a reputation for misadventure, with diplomats sent to smooth the feathers he ruffles. To have the reputation of being rude is hardly fatal for a royal: the Duke of Edinburgh has almost made a virtue of it. But when convicted sex offenders, Kazakh billionaires and teenage masseurs were thrown into the mix, the anti-monarchists knew it was the perfect time to pounce.
It is a Labour MP, Chris Bryant, who has led the charge. The Prince, he says, should resign because he 'is a bit of an embarrassment' — this from a former vicar best known for posting a picture of himself in his underpants on a dating website. But Bryant’s mission is broader. When he was a Foreign Office minister, he said, he felt frustrated at the idea that the monarchy was immune from political attack. 'A Labour administration tackling the royals would have led to charges of republicanism,' he said. 'Perhaps it might be easier for the coalition to take a stand.' If last week was anything to go by, he will not be disappointed.
The anonymous briefing from government sources started immediately. Prince Andrew was acting as an unpaid trade envoy, ran the logic, so he should be treated like an ordinary politician. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said the Duke should 'judge the position he is in' and added, with menace, that 'conversations will have to take place'. Another source said the government would shed no tears for the Prince's departure. Even 10 Downing Street had joined this royal hunting session, with an unnamed official saying that Prince Andrew's position would be 'untenable' if further embarrassing stories emerged.
The Prince, in other words, was being thrown to the wolves. This happens fairly regularly to politicians: anonymous character assassination followed by political burial. But to treat a member of the royal family in this way was extraordinary. When David Cameron turned up for work on Monday he recognised immediately what was happening, and called off the attack dogs. Even he, however, was struck by how quickly this clash happened. The Prime Minister is an instinctive monarchist, but is above all a politician first.
It was clear that the Prince Andrew episode had exposed a deeper tension between the political class and the monarchy.
One does not have to be a republican to cringe at Prince Andrew's behaviour — the Queen herself is likely to be one of those most dismayed at how this has played out. Many of the criticisms are unwarranted, but it can hardly be said that the Prince stays out of danger. He has played into the hands of the monarchy's critics. Ten years ago, the world knew about his reputation, and this was not a problem, because he was willing to act unpaid to use his royal cachet to act as a trade ambassador and open markets for British companies. Befriending the likes of Saif Gaddafi was an occupational hazard. His job was to knock on dodgy doors; he could not help who answered them.
But no British company asked that Prince Andrew stay four nights last December with Jeffrey Epstein. The two may have been friends for years, but when Epstein served an 18-month jail sentence for soliciting a teenage girl it was a sign that it might be better to limit their relationship to Christmas cards. When the News of the World ran photographs of the prince and the sex offender walking in Central Park, it looked bad. And when it emerged that the Prince solicited £15,000 from Epstein to help repay debts run up by his spendthrift ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, it looked worse. To Prince Andrew's allies, this is a depressingly recurrent theme. 'She always needs money, and that's why he hangs around with these characters,' one says. 'No one else will take her on, so she'll cling to him until she dies.'
As the money available to the monarchy contracts under political pressure, its members need to adjust. The Queen already has. Other members of her family — current and estranged — find it harder. The question of how the monarchy finances itself poses inherent risks, raising the question of what the public finds acceptable. Alan Bennett put it well in The Madness of George III. 'To be heir to the throne is not a position, it's a predicament,' the regent says. 'People laugh at me. What must I do to be taken seriously? I tell you, sir, to be Prince of Wales is not becoming to a gentleman.' This appears to sum up the Duke of York. What is a 51-year-old single father to do with himself?
To be a trade ambassador carries with it the accusation of being hungry for junkets. To enter business risks accusations of venality, and cashing in on one's status. Members of the royal family need to adjust constantly to shifting ideas about how they should behave — with politicians and the media keen to decide where the boundary is drawn. And the media appetite for scandal poses as great a threat as the political desire to clip the monarchy's wings.
In just over a generation, the age of deference has been replaced by the age of entrapment. The respect shown during the abdication crisis, when Fleet Street kept an astonishing number of secrets, has vanished. Nowadays, royals have their mobile phones hacked — as, notoriously, in the case of Prince William. Newspapers are now in the business of stings. Ten years ago, for example, a Spectator writer who a national newspaper hoped would catch Prince Andrew's eye was asked by an editor to infiltrate a group of girls around the Prince and spy on him. (She turned down the assignment.)
The same newspapers that hope to make a killing from selling stories about the royal wedding will just as happily try to sell stories exaggerating the party-going habits of a prince. One can argue that it is not newspaper morals that have changed, but the public appetite for scandal. But whatever the reason, royals are given less and less leeway.
The decisions facing them are seldom clear-cut. To associate with Epstein after his conviction may sound like almost suicidal folly. But when the Prince had dinner with him last December, the other guests included the CBS anchorwoman Katie Couric, the renowned interviewer Charlie Rose and the film director Woody Allen. Why the forgiveness? 'I'm not a sexual predator, I'm an "offender",' Epstein told the New York Post. 'It's the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.' This may sound laughable in London. But Prince Andrew was not the only one who thought Epstein was safe company that night.
Had a member of the Cabinet accepted the hospitality of a convicted sex offender, they would have had to quit. Peter Mandelson lost his job over a £373,000 loan from a Labour minister to buy a home in Notting Hill. Prince Andrew sold his home, Sunninghill Park, for £3 million over the asking price to a Kazakh billionaire — and seems to have got away with it. All this infuriates a certain type of politician, who can't so much as flip his mortgage, or buy a John Lewis flatscreen, without being pilloried. 'I suspect that’s what's behind my colleagues' anger,' says one of the more frugal Tory backbench MPs. 'If they can't behave like princes any more, then they don't think a prince should be able to either.'
Perhaps the single most destructive move Clegg could make would be to subject the royal household to the Freedom of Information Act. If this happens, then everything from caviar receipts to private correspondence would be released. The furore over MPs expenses gives a taste of the havoc this could cause. 'The monarchy's mystery is its life,' wrote Bagehot in 1867. Its enemies agree. And freedom of information laws are a tool to end this mystery. Already, the Guardian is fighting a court case to have the government release Prince Charles's letters to ministers.
Buckingham Palace is strangely good at adapting to changing political circumstances. In almost six decades, the Queen has had only two problems of note. The first was when she was slow to respond to the 1966 Aberfan disaster, where a collapsing colliery slag heap crushed a school in a Welsh village. The second was about her response to the death of Diana — made into a film, The Queen (which, I gather, she still hasn’t watched). After each mistake, she overhauled the way Buckingham Palace is run, making sure she is just close enough to her subjects, but not so close that she intrudes. Her reign shows that there are three secrets to a successful monarchy: don't leak, stay out of politics and strike the right balance between regality and excess.
When royals break these rules, as we have seen, trouble very quickly follows. And there will be more trouble in store. It is said of the Queen that she can talk frankly to the Prime Minister in their weekly private meetings precisely because she says nothing in public. This cannot be said of her son. If the Prince of Wales's frenetic letters to Labour ministers become public, it is certain to lead to charges of his political interference — charges that could not, at any point, have been made of his mother. Strangely, our 84-year-old Queen has set a template for how a monarchy should handle the digitised world of 24-hour news.
Prince William will have been watching his uncle's travails with discomfort. The royals must watch the company they keep, expecting their every move to be monitored and even their phones to be tapped. The lesson of the Prince Andrew saga is simple: the royal family must be more cautious than ever before. Prince William and Kate Middleton will face more pitfalls than perhaps any couple previously in their position. The royal family may have approval ratings that political parties can only dream of. But as we have seen, its enemies are always ready to pounce.
Prince Andrew's association with Epstein has previously embarrassed the royal family. In 2010, the two were photographed together after the financier had finished serving his prison sentence. The royal subsequently stepped down as a U.K. trade envoy, a role he had held for a decade.________
This article apeared
at the National Post
Buckingham palace vehemently denies claims Prince Andrew slept with underage 'sex slave'
Sylvia Hui, Associated Press
January 2, 2015
Buckingham Palace has denied "any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors" by Prince Andrew, after being named in US court papers. Alexander Koerner/Getty Images
LONDON — Royal officials on Friday denied that Britain's Prince Andrew engaged in any "impropriety with underage minors" after he was named in U.S. court documents related to a lengthy lawsuit against American financier Jeffrey Epstein.
In papers filed to a Florida court, an unidentified woman alleged that Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein when she was under the age of 18. The filing said the alleged encounters took place around 1999 to 2002.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "This relates to longstanding and ongoing civil proceedings in the United States, to which the Duke of York is not a party. As such we would not comment on the detail." Andrew, 54, is known as the Duke of York.
The statement added: "However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue." The statement was unusual because royal officials typically do not comment on such allegations.
The woman's claims, filed on Tuesday, were added to a drawn-out lawsuit filed by two other women who claim they were sexually abused as minors by Epstein. The billionaire financier was sentenced to prison in 2008 after pleading guilty to child sex offenses.
The women have objected to how U.S. prosecutors handled Epstein's case, and want authorities to reconsider a plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid much more serious federal charges and potentially longer prison time.
The woman making claims against Prince Andrew – only identified as "Jane Doe No.3" – is one of two new accusers asking a West Palm Beach, Florida, judge to allow them to join the existing lawsuit against Epstein. The royal is not named as a defendant in that case, and no criminal charges or formal allegations have been made against him.
It was not the first time Prince Andrew has faced media scrutiny over his friendship with Epstein. In July 2011 the royal stepped down from his role as a U.K. trade ambassador following controversy over his links with the billionaire.
Associated Press writer Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to this report.
This article appeared
at Gilad Atzmon
Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz named in US lawsuit over underage sex allegations
January 02, 2015 / Gilad Atzmon
British press reports today state that a woman claims that Jewish banker Jeffrey Epstein loaned her to rich and powerful friends as an underage 'sex slave.' The woman has alleged in a US court document that she was repeatedly forced to have sexual relations with Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz.
The woman, who filed the motion anonymously, alleges that between 1999 and 2002 she was repeatedly sexually abused by Epstein who, she also alleges, loaned her out to rich and influential men around the world.
The British press is obviously interested in developments related to Prince Andrew. But I am actually curious to hear what the ethnic cleansing enthusiast Alan Dershowitz has to say in his defence.
The Guardian reported today, 'another close associate of Epstein who is also accused in the lawsuit, Alan Dershowitz, told the Guardian that the woman's accusations against himself were "totally false and made up".'
Alan Dershowitz is widely known as an Israeli Hasbara mouthpiece as well as a 'remarkable liar'. Should we believe him this time?
This article appeared
in Business Insider
The Queen Angrily Summoned Prince Andrew To Buckingham Palace Over His NYC Holiday With Hedge Fund Sex Offender
Photo: Daily Mail
It turns out Queen Elizabeth summoned Prince Andrew to the Royal Palace after pictures of him with convicted hedge fund sex offender Jeffrey Epstein were published in the Daily Mail, according to a profile of the wayward British prince in this month's Vanity Fair. Even though Prince Andrew — who is the UK's Ambassador for Trade — had embarrassed the Royal Family before, apparently remaining chummy with Epstein, who has been accused of inappropriate sexual relations with at least 30 underage girls, was what sent the Queen over the edge.
In particular, allegations made by a woman called Virginia Roberts, against Epstein and the Prince, triggered the Queen's scolding. Roberts alleges that when she was younger, Epstein flew her out to the States where she was trained as a prostitute, and that she was flown specifically to meet Andrew. The Prince says he never engaged in sexual contact with her.
According to Vanity Fair,
The sordid connection to Jeffrey Epstein inflicted by far the greatest damage on the prince's reputation. According to a sworn deposition by Juan Alessi, a former employee at Epstein's Palm Beach estate, Andrew attended naked pool parties and was treated to massages by a harem of adolescent girls.The phone call from Sian James of The [Daily] Mail… created a 36-hour maelstrom at Buckingham Palace," a royal source told me. "At some point during those 36 hours, the Queen summoned the Duke of York to a meeting." According to several well-informed individuals, the Queen was not amused.
The Queen asked Prince Andrew why he had consorted with someone like Jeffrey Epstein, whom the F.B.I. had reportedly linked to about 40 young women, most of them underage. More to the point, the Queen demanded to know if her son had any more surprises up his sleeve.
Prince Andrew swore to his mother he'd never slept with Virginia Roberts, or any of Epstein's other alleged victims.
Buckingham Palace Denies
Prince Andrew "Impropriety"
Former British Intel Operative Andrea Davison
on the run for exposing child sex abuse