What the future could look like for Prince Andrew and whether he will retain royal title and duties
What does the future look like for Prince Andrew? The Queen’s 61-year-old son, who is facing a civil case in the US over allegations he sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre when she was 17 – which he denies – is now highly unlikely to ever return to any royal duties or charity patronage.
“I don’t see how he can salvage his reputation unless he appears in a courtroom and convinces a jury that he didn’t do it,” says Nigel Cawthorne, royal expert and author of Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace. “Given that he didn’t do very well when he was cross examined by Emily Maitlis, I don’t see how it’s going to really stand up against some hot shot New York lawyer.”
Royal reporter Harry Mount tells i that the Queen is too savvy about public opinion to allow her son any official royal life now. He’s not an ordinary person who can be sacked, but he can vanish entirely into the shadows.
“The royal family in some senses depends on a strange consent from the general public, that they broadly like the royal family,” he says. “The Queen knows more than anyone that if that public approval goes, then you’re lost. She’s pretty good at cutting off a public position of those Royals who don’t behave. Harry lost his military titles, and though he still has his royal title, he’s encouraged not to use it. It’s more complicated with Andrew because it’s always seemed as though he’s her favourite son, he’s always dropping over there for lunch, and that will never change – but the Queen is very canny about not risking her constitutional position.”
While Andrew already “stepped back” from royal duties in 2019, he still has plenty more to lose now that his lawyer’s attempt to have the case thrown out has failed. Since Ghislaine Maxwell’s guilty verdict, there have been calls from a veteran of the Grenadier Guards for Andrew to forfeit his rank as Colonel of the regiment.
“That must make him feel like a social pariah, when the Grenadiers don’t want him anymore,” says Cawthorne. Mount says Andrew is likely “very depressed” at not being able to attend this year’s 40th anniversary of the Falklands war, in which he fought. “That’s the sort of thing he really liked.”
If he loses the case, which could be heard later in the year if it goes to trial, it is also possible the Queen would ask him to stop using his title Duke of York entirely. Andrew also promised to step down from all patronages in 2019, though it is unclear whether he has taken the formal step of resigning from them all, or has just paused from attending events and publicly supporting them.
Professor Celia Otnes, author of Royal Fever; the British Monarchy in Consumer Culture, says that whatever happens next, “Prince Andrew’s opportunity to contribute to the strength and symbolism of the brand, as a stalwart representative of the values of family and of the nation, has all but dissipated.”
“It seems clear that the Queen is determined to limit his disenfranchisement within the family. Nevertheless, he is likely to play a minimal role, if any, at important rituals such as her Platinum Jubilee.”
In terms of his private life, that could remain the same for the foreseeable future. “He’s got his royal lodge to live in,” says Cawthorne, “he visits Windsor Castle and lunches with his mum and went to see her at Balmoral, and so on that level he is fairly comfortable.”
There’s also the question of how psychologically or emotionally Prince Andrew is affected by these accusations. “With the best will in the world, he’s, he’s not very bright,” says Cawthorne, “and he’s astoundingly arrogant as he came across in [the] fantastically disastrous Emily Maitlis interview, and it’s terrible to be like that, but in a way, it’s probably quite helpful because I can imagine him thinking, “I’m wonderful, this is terrible what’s happening to me. I think that’s less to do with being a member of the royal family and more to do with a portion of arrogance which some people feel irrespective of their background.”
When it comes to money, however, things may be about to get much trickier for Andrew, even if he’s not going to be out on the street. It has been reported that he is selling his £17m ski chalet as the Queen won’t pay his legal bills anymore. “His only actual income is his pension from the Navy, which is around 30,000 a year,” says Mount, “So that is not going to pay for those huge legal fees.” Then there are the hugely rich businessmen who have subsidised Andrew – including Tory donor David Rowland who paid off the Duke’s £1.5m loan.
“Those gazillionaires are slowly disappearing,” says Mount. “Even the dumbest businessmen is not going to start doing that kind of thing now. Andrew is not going to be valued by people who are keen on paying for access anymore.”
As it stands, the Queen has kept Andrew in the family, allows him to visit her, and has reportedly paid his legal fees. Above all, he is her son. Yet, there is a sense that when the Queen is gone and Charles becomes King, brotherly love may not be as strong. Charles and Andrew have never got on particularly well, says Cawthorne.
“There has been a battle going on between them for years, and when Charles and Diana were splitting up, Charles was very unpopular and Andrew seems to have been trying to engineer a palace coup to take over until William was old enough to take the throne.”
Yet it seems that Andrew would always have ended up with a shrunken royal role, whether these allegations had come to light or not. “Prince Charles really wants to streamline the royal family down to the direct line of succession,” says Mount, “and since Prince Harry’s checked out of the whole thing, that just means Charles, Camilla, Prince William, Kate, and their three children. And so even if Andrew had been a saint, he would have been marginalised.”
Yet it seems now as Prince Andrew faces a civil case by a woman accusing him of abuse, that he will be off the royal radar far sooner than Charles becomes King.
Reference: Kasia Delgado
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