December 2010: Prince Andrew is photographed walking with Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted pedophile and sexual assailant, in New York’s Central Park. During that visit to New York, Prince Andrew stayed in Epstein’s mansion, as he had many times before.
August 10, 2019: Jeffrey Epstein dies under mysterious conditions in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. He had been on suicide watch, and guards were supposed to be checking on him every 30 minutes. The security tapes of the area in and around Epstein’s jail cell were never released publicly, and reportedly two of the cameras closest to Epstein’s cell “malfunctioned” that night, simultaneously, as his guards slept at their desks for hours.
November 16th, 2019: Feeling pressure from the British and international press to speak about his connection to Epstein, Prince Andrew gives an interview to Emily Maitlis at BBC’s Newsnight. The special program airs on a weekend. Immediately following the program, there are multiple reports that Andrew thought it went well, and that he told the Queen it went well. Over the span of one week, Andrew will be called into Buckingham Palace, and he is given the chance to “step down” from public life. Since then, he has been hellbent on “coming back.”
I bring up this timeline just to point out how long it’s been with all of these stories. This is how long Queen Elizabeth has been covering for Andrew. Even when he stepped down from public life, he didn’t relinquish anything, not his HRH, not his ducal title, not his military patronages, not his royal patronages. The Queen and her courtiers even forced many patronages to keep Andrew on as their patron for two years and two months following his “step down.” But now that Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit is now going to trial, finally NOW, in the year of our lord Beyonce 2022, Andrew is finally getting his patronages yanked. And once again, Buckingham Palace framed it as Andrew’s choice. Apparently, Andrew is voluntarily giving up his HRH-style too (but he still IS an HRH, he just won’t use it).
Prince Andrew will no longer be known as His Royal Highness ‘in any official capacity’ in a stunning downfall as his family tonight abandoned him to fight his sex abuse lawsuit in America as a private citizen. Andrew, who remains Duke of York, also loses his military titles and royal patronages ‘with the Queen’s approval and agreement’, Buckingham Palace said in a terse statement that brought his 61 years as a senior royal to a shock end.
He is only the 5th royal in recent history to stop using the HRH title, with Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York, losing the styling after their divorce, while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle agreed to lose theirs as part of their ‘Megxit’ deal with the Queen.
Buckingham Palace announced the Queen’s decision to cast Andrew out of the royal fold in a statement released this afternoon: ‘With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.’
A royal source said the issue had been widely discussed with the royal family, making it likely that the Prince of Wales, as well as Andrew, were involved in crisis talks over the matter. The source said the military posts would be redistributed to other members of the royal family.
The Palace said previously that the duke’s military appointments were in abeyance after he stepped down from public duties in 2019. But, prior to today, he still retained the roles, including the position of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest and most emblematic regiments in the British Army. His other British honorary military titles are: Honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth; Colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment; Colonel-in-chief of the Small Arms School Corps; Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm; Royal colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers; Deputy colonel-in-chief of The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths’ Own); and Royal colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Look at that long list of military appointments he still retained whilst simultaneously having his lawyers argue in court that the Child Victims Act is unconstitutional, and that Virginia already had enough money. He had all of those appointments even after the Newsnight debacle. Hours before Liz made her favorite son turn over all of his shiny military regalia, more than 150 veterans signed an open letter to the Queen, demanding that Andrew get stripped of his military positions.
Royal commentators are, of course, all in a tizzy. Dickie Arbiter swooned: “She is pragmatic. It is about protecting the interests of the institution. Andrew now is really out in the cold.” Penny Junor questioned the timing: “I think it was a huge embarrassment that retired serving military personnel were demanding that titles be removed. That just becomes embarrassing and it becomes damaging to the Queen because the Queen is then seen as protecting her son. I don’t know if the Queen was too slow to take them back or whether it lies with Andrew who was too slow to offer them back. But either way I think actually a bit of criticism has to fall on the Queen here… she, or her advisers should have seen that this was going to cause a problem and should have insisted that she take them back.” Well well.
My guess is that once again, Prince Charles was tasked with telling mummy that Andrew needed to give up his toys. This was not something the Queen came up with on her own, clearly, because she had done nothing before now.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.