Prince Andrew has always had a reputation as the bad boy among Queen Elizabeth’s children. The Duke of York has now lived up to his black sheep status in the family.
In the wake of a disastrous interview with BBC’s Newsnight, where he discussed his relationship with the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the royal had no choice but to step down. In a statement by Buckingham Palace, Prince Andrew revealed he was stepping down from all public duties “for the foreseeable future.” We’re now getting an understanding of all the ways that’s going to impact the 59-year-old’s everyday life.
While, as a monarch, Queen Elizabeth has had to be hard on her son, the two were spotted riding horses together following his announcement.
Many believe that as a mother, she’s trying to navigate the difficult situation in a way that doesn’t damage her relationship with her son. On the official side of things, the Queen wasn’t the only one consulted about what to do about Andrew. Prince Charles and Prince William were also reportedly in on the plan.
Prince Andrew’s latest royal scandal begins to unfold. It all started when the BBC aired the royal’s Newsnight interview, which was supposed to entail his response to rumors of sexual assault and his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. The interview did not go as planned.
The interview painted the royal in an even worse light than before. His answers were jumbled and unsympathetic to the many people impacted by Jeffrey’s inexcusable behavior. His denial of knowing Virginia Roberts, a woman who claims she was forced to sleep with the prince several times starting at the age of 17, was also hard to grasp when photos of the two together exist.
Public sentiment around Andrew only soured further after the interview. He released a statement via Buckingham Palace announcing that he would “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future.” The Queen gave him permission to do so.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support,” Andrew explained in the statement.
Later, he added, “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
While Andrew’s stepping away from royal life makes things a bit more manageable for the royal family, it also leaves Queen Elizabeth in a predicament. As a monarch, she needs to ensure the stability of the royal family. As a mother, she can be a bit more sympathetic, as you can tell by the two riding horses together just two days after the announcement.
On that same day, it was reported that Prince Andrew had been kicked out of his Buckingham Palace office. Andrew’s private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, was also reportedly let go for encouraging him to do the interview. The Queen also put an end to the lavish dinner for Andrew’s 60th birthday expected to take place in February, scheduling a small, quiet family dinner instead.
A source told the Times of London that Prince William was involved in the decision to remove Andrew’s private office from Buckingham Palace. “William thinks the right thing happened,” the source noted. “William is becoming more and more involved in decisions about the institution [monarchy] and he’s not a huge fan of his uncle Andrew.”
Since Andrew is out as royal patron to over 230 organizations, there have been questions of what will happen to the royal family’s relationship with these charities. Prince Andrew reportedly wants daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice to take these over.
“You certainly can’t have a situation where the sins of the father are visited on the children,” said Sir Stephen Bubb, director of the think tank Charity Futures, to The Times. “But the decision on patronage is a matter for the charity itself to decide what is most appropriate.”
Virginia Giuffre, previously Virginia Roberts, has also spoken out on Prince Andrew’s decision. In a statement to People, her attorney noted, “Prince Andrew’s recent interview and his subsequent action to withdraw from public life is welcomed news. It is a positive first step towards taking responsibility for his actions.”
“However, basing his decision to step away from his duties due to his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein is only a half truth,” the attorney continued. “He clearly had a long-term association with Ghislaine Maxwell who we maintain was Epstein’s co-conspirator and played a central role in devastating the lives of countless women.”
A royal historian named Robert Lacey is now reflecting on what this all means for Prince Andrew, his legacy, and the royal family. “His entire public existence has been wiped out by his own behavior,” Robert told People.
Robert believes that the royal family has sent a fierce message with their handling of Andrew. It “shows that the royals can move very swiftly and very ruthlessly,” Robert noted. With the number of family members involved in the decision, it also shows that the past and present of the monarchy are on the same page about certain issues.
Andrew still has the support of his children. Beatrice and fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi visited Andrew at Windsor Castle on Monday. They also reportedly met with the Queen and Prince Philip.
Beatrice’s wedding is just one of many things left in limbo by the controversy. Taxpayers will certainly want no part in funding a royal wedding for a royal whose family has fallen from grace. With recent reports that she may have also encouraged Andrew to do the interview, only time will tell what the resolution for herself and her sister will be.