King Charles “just wants Andrew to go away,” a friend of Prince Andrew’s has told The Daily Beast—but all the evidence is that Andrew has no intention of departing public life quietly.
Charles’ eagerness to separate his fortunes from his brother’s were made plain Thursday when it was reported that Andrew is to be evicted from the Buckingham Palace apartment that he has had use of since his twenties.
A friend of Andrew’s, who has visited the apartment, said it was inaccurate to describe it as a luxury property saying, “It is actually a pretty shabby one-bed, with extension cables everywhere, and a photo of his mum by the bed. But you know what they say—location, location, location. ‘Come to Buckingham Palace’ is pretty hard to beat as a line. He always enjoyed using that one. But Charles just wants Andrew to go away at this stage. He couldn’t make it any clearer.”
Asked if they thought Andrew, who last year settled a reputed $14 million civil suit brought against him by Jeffrey Epstein trafficking victim Virginia Giuffre, would be prepared to do his brother’s bidding and slip away into the shadows, the source said, “In a word, no. He insists he never met Giuffre, and never did anything wrong.” (Giuffre claimed Andrew sexually assaulted her three times while she was underage and being trafficked, which he has always denied.)
The friend’s impression echoes comments made by society filmmaker Daphne Barak, who conducted a recent jailhouse interview with Ghislaine Maxwell, who was jailed for 20 years for her part in Epstein’s sordid trafficking scheme.
Barak told Talk TV’s Jeremy Kyle show, which carried the interview, “I am very close to the people most close to [Andrew]… There is a feeling right now that he settled too quickly, he might have misunderstood that when he gave up the titles that they would not be given back to him. It’s a tough reality for him. If indeed he was forced to settle for something he didn’t do… is something that is being considered legally right now, that is something I can definitely confirm.”
Nigel Cawthorne, a biographer of Prince Andrew who wrote the book Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell and the Palace told The Daily Beast earlier this week that he suspected the attempt to renew emphasis on Andrew’s claim that a notorious photograph of him and Giuffre with Maxwell in the background is fake—Maxwell also made this claim in her interview with Barak—was a way to dent Giuffre’s credibility ahead of a gagging order expiring next month, with her reportedly now planning to pen a memoir.
Although she is unlikely to be able to discuss Andrew himself, any public reminder of the mere existence of Giuffre will be unwelcome for Charles, as he readies a not-particularly enthusiastic nation for his coronation in May.
However, he might need to find a way to cope. Andrew’s recent media forays have shown that he still retains a stunning capacity to make life hard for his brother by letting off regular bombs.
In recent days, a medley of bizarre pro-Andrew stories have appeared in the British media. First there were claims Charles was going to allow Andrew to start using his HRH title privately again (unlikely, given Charles was largely responsible for getting the late Queen Elizabeth to strip it from him in the first place), then the claim that Andrew was going to try and overturn the Giuffre settlement, and then the claim that Charles supported this move (a claim rubbished by The Daily Beast’s sources).
A friend of the king told The Daily Beast that for Andrew to proceed with any attempt to revisit the Giuffre settlement would be regarded as akin to “stirring the muck heap,” breathing new life into (and releasing a new stench from) the sex scandal that engulfed and destroyed Andrew. The source said the king would be resolutely opposed to such a move.
So why and how are these stories appearing? It may be, as Cawthorne suggests, a case of Andrew getting his revenge in first ahead of Giuffre being free to speak again. But some suspect that if the flurry of new media sallies are being orchestrated by Andrew’s camp, it may not be unconnected to the departure at the end of last year of the reputation management company that had been handling his communications for some time, with sources saying his media management is once again in the hands of his solicitor, Gary Bloxsome.
Bloxsome has sometimes been nicknamed “Good News Gary” for the sunny optimism of his outlook. Bloxsome did not respond to an email from The Daily Beast requesting comment on whether Andrew had been stripped of his apartment at Buckingham Palace. (Buckingham Palace said it would not be commenting.)
No doubt encouraging assessments of his situation are music to Andrew’s ears, who appears very much not to have not given up hope of rehabilitating himself.
“The reality is that regular appearances by Andrew in the news are the last thing King Charles needs, having—amazingly—dodged the bullet of Harry’s memoir”
Andrew was this week reported to have been telling friends at the shooting parties to which he is still invited (as The Daily Beast reported last year) that good news that will go a good distance towards clearing his name will emerge—next month. The content of the happy tidings which will do so much to change Andrew’s image remains a mystery.
The reality is that regular appearances by Andrew in the news are the last thing King Charles needs, having—amazingly—dodged the bullet of Harry’s memoir, as he tries to prepare for his coronation in just over three months.
In the end, the chances are Andrew will not go back to court in the Giuffre case. For one thing, there is a question mark about whether he could even afford it: one source told The Independent that launching a bid would “be eye-wateringly expensive and leave him in a money pit,” adding, “The family is worried whether there could be enough money for it.”
But just reading about Andrew in the media has the unfortunate effect of reminding the British public of the transgressions and arrogance of the most hated member of the royal family.
But it also shows how weak Charles is. After all these sorts of stories were not appearing in the newspaper when the queen was alive. It looks increasingly like Charles does not have sufficient authority to say, “no,” and be confident that he will be obeyed—a very dangerous situation for a monarch to find himself in.