United Kingdom: Prince Andrew to be hidden away
Prince Andrew has been, to use a new verb, “de-royaled,” said Jamie Doward in The Observer. The queen’s second son was barred from all public duties last week following his car-crash interview with the BBC, in which he attempted to defend his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Revealing himself to be “arrogant, aloof, and slow-witted,” the 59-year-old prince expressed zero sympathy for the underage girls Epstein kept as sex toys. Andrew claimed lamely that he had no recollection of Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the American who says she was pimped out to the prince at age 17. And he had no good explanation for the four days he spent partying at the financier’s Manhattan home in 2010, two years after Epstein was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution. As soon as the interview aired, charities and businesses began racing to sever their ties with the prince. An overnight pariah, Andrew has now been stripped of all royal duties. His personal royal flag no longer flies above the palatial home in Windsor Great Park, and the queen has even canceled the big 60th birthday bash she was to hold for him next February.
It was Prince Charles, Andrew’s older brother, who ordered this banishment, said Simon Heffer in The Daily Telegraph. The Prince of Wales, 71, is preparing to take over from Queen Elizabeth II, 93, and he knows the succession will be a “moment of great vulnerability for the monarchy.” The palace wants the whole nation to “pull together behind the new king,” but Andrew’s misjudgments have put the enterprise at risk. Alarm bells went off at Buckingham Palace last week when, during a televised leadership debate ahead of the Dec. 12 general election, a questioner asked if the House of Windsor was still “fit for purpose.” Charles, who was in New Zealand, quickly phoned his mother and insisted her reputed favorite child be drummed out for the good of the Crown. “The queen agreed.”
Let’s not call this a punishment, said Camilla Long in The Times. Andrew has been relieved of the most tedious aspects of royal life—“no more opening hospitals or touring denture factories”—and will continue being pampered at Mummy’s expense. And we can be sure that this comedown won’t humble him. A man who has spent his entire life shouting at servants and consorting with sheikhs, oligarchs, and other sleazy characters is unlikely to suddenly “cease to behave like an apex git.” That’s why the royal family has to be restructured, said Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian. Prince Charles is said to favor “a slimmed-down future monarchy, focused on himself, his wife, and his sons.” What exactly will happen to the dozens of minor royals isn’t clear—it’s difficult to see Andrew “succeeding in the working world strictly on his own merits.” Yet something has to change for this tarnished institution to survive. “If the monarchy cannot put its house in order, it should not be surprised if the nation ultimately seeks to do it for them.” ■