The real Prince Andrew scandal: we can’t get rid of him

Even following the Epstein allegations we are lumbered with Andrew – all because he’s a royal.

Fraser Myers
Topics Politics UK USA World

It was all going so well for the woke reboot of the House of Windsor. Prince William had rebranded himself a mental-health advocate. Prince Harry had gone from wearing Nazi costumes and fighting Afghans to crusading against racism and warning us of the impending eco-apocalypse. But then Prince Andrew threw a spanner in the works. His association with Jeffrey Epstein resurfaced following the billionaire’s suicide – as did a number of old sexual-misconduct allegations (all strenuously denied by the palace).

Thanks to the bizarre hangover from feudal times that we call the monarchy, important titles, positions and privileges in British public life are still conferred by accident of birth rather than through merit. Put in this position, Prince Andrew has generally been at best a spare thumb and, at worst, a liability. Apart from a brief stint as a pilot in the Falklands ‘emergency’ (the short-lived event never officially attained war status), his royal ‘career’ has only ever veered between these two poles.

According to his highness’s website, the Duke of York is a ‘full-time working member of the royal family’. Apparently, he ‘works to promote economic growth and skilled job creation in the UK’. What this actually entails – and what good it does for the nation’s economy – is anyone’s guess.

In 2011, Andrew was forced to step down from his official role as a roving trade ambassador when pictures emerged of him meeting with Jeffrey Epstein in New York’s Central Park – crucially, this was after Epstein’s conviction for soliciting sex from a minor. In the same year, Andrew’s former wife, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, admitted that the convicted paedophile had lent her £15,000 to pay off her debts. According to the Evening Standard, this was arranged through Andrew’s office.

Following the scandal, Andrew promised to spend more time in Britain. But it seemed that ‘Air Miles Andy’ still had plenty of freelance prince work to do abroad. A Sunday Telegraph investigation revealed that several years after he resigned as a trade envoy, he was still clocking up vast numbers of ‘working visits’ and ‘private visits’ on the taxpayer’s dime. In 2014, he travelled 66,800 miles by air – the equivalent of circling the globe three times – nearly as far as he had travelled when he was officially a trade envoy. When he is in the UK, Andy’s preferred mode of transport is the helicopter, which he uses to travel between royal engagements and golf courses.

Over the years, Prince Andrew earned the tabloid nicknames Randy Andy, Handsy Andy and Mr Tickle. In 2011, the now infamous picture of Andrew with Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts), an alleged victim of Epstein’s, emerged. In 2015, Giuffre named the Duke of York in court documents for a case against Epstein. She said she was trafficked by Epstein and that she and Andrew had sexual relations in 2001 when she was 17 years old. An American judge threw out the allegations as ‘immaterial’ to the Epstein case, while Scotland Yard shelved its own investigation into Epstein and Prince Andrew. Following a court hearing into the Epstein allegations this week, Giuffre pointed the finger at Andrew again: ‘He knows exactly what he’s done and I hope he comes clean about it.’ The palace strenuously denies the allegations against Andrew and that he had any knowledge of criminal behaviour on Epstein’s part.

But while the prince’s association with Epstein has caused him and the royals the most grief, it isn’t the only scandal that should raise eyebrows. Nobody knows exactly why Prince Andrew has had so many meetings with Azerbaijan’s autocratic president, Ilham Aliyev, over the years – and whether Andrew’s keen interest in the country goes beyond visiting the nice golf courses near the Caspian Sea. Similarly, questions were raised by the purchase of Andrew’s home by Timur Kulibayev, son-in-law of the then president of Kazakhstan, for £3million over the asking price.

Andrew has also been accused of acting as a ‘cheerleader in chief for the arms industry’ by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade. He is alleged to have helped arms businesses export to Libya and Yemen. In fact, before his association with Epstein led to his resignation, it was his meetings with the Gaddafi family that were in the spotlight. Diplomatic cables, leaked by Wikileaks, revealed Andrew’s distaste for corruption probes in the arms industry. He reportedly complained of the ‘idiocy’ of Britain’s Serious Fraud Office for ‘almost scuttling the Al-Yamama deal with Saudi Arabia’ – a record-breaking arms deal between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia, brokered by the British government. (Two years later, BAE pleaded guilty in a US court to charges of false accounting, though the UK investigation was dropped under government pressure.)

The laundry list of Andrew’s scandals would be long enough to finish off any politician – and it grows longer by the day. But in Britain, in 2019, we are still lumbered with a royal family. They wield enormous influence – supposedly on our behalf – but we the public have no power or means to stop them or hold them accountable. The biggest scandal of all is that we can’t get Andrew out of public life.

Fraser Myers is a staff writer at spiked and host of the spiked podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @FraserMyers.

Picture by: Getty.

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Paul Carlin

5th September 2019 at 6:24 pm

“Thumb”? You know which word you had wished to write there. This is censorship; for shame.

Margaret Potter

31st August 2019 at 2:37 pm

“ Falklands ‘emergency’ (the short-lived event never officially attained war status)”
What an outrageous statement – try telling that to the families of the dead soldiers Myers.
Replace the monarchy with whom, all the crooked thieving politicians with their hands in the expenses cookie jar, arrogantly telling Leaver voters they are thick and so must be ignored. At least the Queen will reign in any renegade members, unlike the Speaker of the House and the motley Remainer MP crew, he just aids and abets their diabolical behaviour. A pox on both houses.

Michael Lynch

28th August 2019 at 7:48 pm

Every family has a F@#k up to contend with. What an utter embarrassment he’s turned out for the Queen. Why does he still get all that money and prestige? Surely now there are plenty in line for the throne he should be massively downgraded to a minor hanger on.

Winston Stanley

28th August 2019 at 5:05 pm

Excellent take from Myers. The sooner that we construct a properly functional modern democracy the better. We really do not need feudal leftovers to make that happen and it is obnoxious to democratic sensibilities. The “UK” is a ridiculous Disneyfication of our society.

> The Queen’s role in the prorogation of Parliament is procedural and dictated by convention with the chances of her denying such a request almost zero. <

Let us reduce that to absolute zero, abolish the monarchy and the house of "lords and ladies", and not waste our time with an elected president. A properly functional, and more direct and representative democracy is all that is needed. Let democracy be done and nothing but.

Michael Lynch

28th August 2019 at 7:52 pm

No thanks. Why fix something that isn’t broken? It seems quite ironic that Britain is one of the most tolerant and free societies and yet has the most recognized monarchy in the world.

Winston Stanley

28th August 2019 at 9:42 pm

British democracy is not merely broken, it was never fit for purpose in the first place. The most glaring recent example is the three TP manifesto promises to reduce immigration to tens of thousands. TP never had any intention of honouring those pledges and now they have abandoned them entirely. Whatever we may think of mass immigration – it is not a massive issue for me – that is entirely unacceptable. We need a more direct, genuinely representative and functional modern democratic system to give real power to the demos – and certainly not the ridiculous Walt Disney feudal leftovers like the monarchy and the HOL.

Dominic Straiton

28th August 2019 at 8:28 pm

And who is going to construct this “democracy”. You? I wouldnt trust any person or politician who proposed to do so.

Hana Jinks

28th August 2019 at 10:34 pm

How about this lady, Dominic? I know l trust her.

michael savell

28th August 2019 at 4:34 pm

Considering the Queen’s wealth I find the distasteful part that of Sarah Ferguson having to borrow
money off JE to pay her debts.Surely the palace should have paid it rather than the nation having to be humiliated by taking his money,it’s ridiculous,is she really that mean?
The crown has been very profitable for GB but when we are reduced to a few miles of compost and shuttered shops it may be time to become a republic,perhaps when the Queen dies.
As for Epstein,nobody will ever discover what happened,those in charge have
made sure of that ,so,as far as I can see,it would be better for all of us,and far less stressful,if journalists concentrated on births and deaths.

Garreth Byrne

28th August 2019 at 3:22 pm

Do people (i.e. journalists & others) expect royals to be better behaved than the rest of the educated middle class population? Are people surprised when some of the royals are discovered to be just as fallibly human as the rest of us?

Fraser Bailey

28th August 2019 at 2:56 pm

The Clintons, the Maxwell, the Windsors…we’re heading for a full set of criminals for this particular story.

Neil McCaughan

28th August 2019 at 2:53 pm

It’s all very well electing a Head of State, but what happens if the electorate got it wrong again, and chose Mr Farage? The BBC and lower middle class liberals in London would be terribly cross. And poor Owen ‘Jussie’ Jones isn’t well enough to lead them in an organised flounce.

fret slider

28th August 2019 at 1:57 pm

The Monarchy is a useful tool.

When Parliament goes off the rails, the head of state sits on her hands… no mandate to act you see.

Parliament is supreme (ie its own judge and jury etc) above Monarch and People and that’s the way they intend to keep it.

James Knight

28th August 2019 at 5:32 pm

They are tools alright.

Jerry Owen

28th August 2019 at 10:38 pm

Well done !

S Rome

28th August 2019 at 1:21 pm

I am sure you feel better for getting that off your chest, but it necessarily follows from our polity being a monarchy that we have a Royal Family. (Even in republics there are shedloads of examples of adverse comment on members of the President’s family, so not even crying “Revolution!” would get to the root of your concern.)

alan smithee

28th August 2019 at 1:14 pm

You make out that selling arms to Yemen is a bad thing.

Neil McCaughan

28th August 2019 at 4:14 pm

Probably is – small budgets and a bad credit risk.

alan smithee

28th August 2019 at 1:10 pm

So the Falklands War was not a war according to Spiked. You’ve got to do better than that. Lazy journalism.

Jim Lawrie

28th August 2019 at 3:09 pm

Such petty little digs slipped into articles serve to remind us of Spіked’s left wing roots.

An attempt to appear clever, based on trivial technicalities. Putting us in our place by telling us we are wrong to say The Falklands War, unlike the sophisticates at Spіked.

But The Troubles in Northern Ireland was “The Irish War”.

Margaret Potter

31st August 2019 at 2:44 pm

Not only lazy Alan, insulting to those that died out there. Would love see how Myers would fare yomping across that terrain, and then fighting the enemy ?

Jim Lawrie

28th August 2019 at 1:03 pm

Coming on here and preaching to the converted will have no impact on the 70-80% of the country who support the monarchy.

What might start making inroads into that is constantly bringing to the attention of the public the fact that Royalty is, uniquely and specifically, corrupt, interfering and self serving as a result of being legally privileged over us. That equality in law applies to everyone, and if not, then it does not exist.

Given that Spіked tested the water for support in lowering the age of consent to 13, running an article on the back of Prince Andrew’s alleged use of a 17 year old prostitute is tenuous.


28th August 2019 at 12:00 pm

The monarch must be replaced with a democratically elected head of state. Real democracies don’t have unelected heads of state, unelected upper chambers, a closed Privy Council and Lord Chancellor who sits in the executive, judiciary and legislature. – the campaign for an elected head of state in the UK

alan smithee

28th August 2019 at 1:09 pm

Imagine… President Blair. Which will put an end to any republican thoughts.


28th August 2019 at 8:24 pm

Straw man. Nobody would vote for Blair to become president of the UK. In a democratic republic you can get rid of your bad presidents whereas there is no constitutional mechanism for removing a bad monarch.

Dominic Straiton

28th August 2019 at 3:08 pm

I think your getting a bit confused. We live in (just ) a democracy yet have a monarchy as does Canada, Australia,The Netherlands and a host of others. The United states is a constitutional republic and not a democracy with George III in charge as he has been since 1776. . Its all a bit more complicated.

Margaret Potter

31st August 2019 at 2:48 pm

In one fell swoop you have just stated the reason for the vote Leave from EU – re UNELECTED ?

George Parker

28th August 2019 at 11:45 am

Wait one. The age of consent in the UK is 16. So why all the fuss over two legally consenting adults having sex?
Princes do it too.

Those who do not like the fact that the people of Great Britain are subjects, and our entire governmental, legal and military systems are overseen by the HRH. Are free to leave on the next boat. Nobody is forcing you to stay. So go to China and enjoy yourself.

Alex Baker

28th August 2019 at 2:03 pm

Giuffre was in Florida and the legal age of consent is 18. Plus the accusation here is of sex slavery. Don’t be silly now – the problems are staring you right in the face.

Winston Stanley

28th August 2019 at 9:37 pm

I am not a “subject” of anyone. I do not recognise a “queen” with any rightful jurisdiction over the demos. If you do not like that then it is you who can “leave on the next boat”. The demos alone is boss and sovereign in this society and we clearly need to entirely reform our political society to drive that fact home. The state and parliament have zero authority over the demos. The clue is in the word “democracy”.

terence patrick hewett

28th August 2019 at 11:44 am

Trial by media – guilty until proved innocent.

H McLean

28th August 2019 at 11:10 am

Good grief, Jeffrey Epstein did not ‘commit suicide’.

cliff resnick

28th August 2019 at 11:05 am

A UK republic is logical but having a constitutional monarchy is sensible, like being tutored on the responsibilities from birth, UK exceptionalism and just imagine a President Shelagh Fogarty, Tony Blair or President John Major and even worse Presdident Dominic Greive-est bodily harm. Sometimes we don’t know when we’re well off


28th August 2019 at 8:26 pm

You clearly do not understand how democracy works. A bad monarch cannot be removed. A bad president can be removed through constitutional means. You Brits really need to stop lecturing other countries on democracy and put your own house in order

Margaret Potter

31st August 2019 at 2:54 pm

Explain how do we remove Tusk or Junker, if you posit bad presidents can be removed.

Willie Penwright

28th August 2019 at 9:21 am

It is a valuable asset to a weapons-exporting country to have a salesman who is above the law and who is untouchable by political or popular anger. A royal person is the perfect tool for those profiting from bomb sales.

Hana Jinks

28th August 2019 at 9:32 am

Above-the-law is the point. How many actual British people want these twits speaking for them? I’d say zero.

Hana Jinks

28th August 2019 at 9:45 am

It’s far from the point, actually. Why on earth would a country like Britain require Andrew to be making negotiations on their behalf?

( The answer is in the question.)

George Parker

28th August 2019 at 11:49 am

You misunderstand. HRH is not above the law, SHE IS THE LAW!


28th August 2019 at 12:02 pm

I agree. The Windsors have continually leveraged their financial interests off their constitutional position.

Warren Alexander

28th August 2019 at 8:44 am

I neither know nor care if Andrew Windsor is a saint or a sinner. Let’s just do the humane and compassionate thing: Close down the monarchy and elect a Head of State, just like a grown up country.

Stephen J

28th August 2019 at 9:01 am

The problem with leaving a nation’s people to choose who is in and who isn’t leads inevitably to the question:

What are these people for?

And that would never do, we can’t take a chance that a new leader might have a brain, rather than a sponge in its cranial cavity.

Hana Jinks

28th August 2019 at 8:17 am

The palace is a fruit basket and it reflects extremely badly on pommieland.

cliff resnick

28th August 2019 at 11:13 am

Sorry the Queen is a “class act”!

George Parker

28th August 2019 at 11:54 am

Well said Cliff.
She is also the safety net for our entire democratic process. As we will likely see in action very soon. In times of emergency, Her importance and that of the Privy Council cannot be overstated.

Jane 70

28th August 2019 at 2:30 pm

Although my instincts are republican, I have to agree that HM the Q is deserving of our respect.

She represents stability and impartiality, and I dread to think who might display presidential aspirations were we to abolish the monarchy: Blair, Mandelson, Grieve, Bercow, Lucas, Thornberry, Abbott. No!

The rest of the royals are a mixture of annoyingly woke, like H&M, ineffectual or just expensive .

Where do we go from here?

Jerry Owen

28th August 2019 at 4:04 pm

Jane 70
I agree with you HM Queen is deserving of respect , a true professional.
I think the monarchy needs to go ( a conclusion I have only recently come to ) , the Queen and old Duke should perhaps be remembered as the last of the ‘respectable Royals’.


28th August 2019 at 8:27 pm

You cannot base a constitutional system on the whims, good intentions and character of a monarch. A democratic polity must have proper constitutional checks and democratic accountability. A monarchy provides no such accountability and is therefore antithetical to democracy.

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