Is Prince Andrew, Duke of York plotting a comeback? Learn the facts
Prince Andrew has faced his fair share of controversies over the year, but nothing has been more hurtful to his reputation than his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Even before Virginia Roberts Giuffre accused him of sexual abuse when she was a seventeen, his relationship with Epstein received scrutiny, as he kept in contact with Epstein even after Epstein was convicted.
Almost a year after the infamous interview with Newsnight, where the prince faced massive scrutiny for how he characterized his relationship with Epstein, he’s reportedly trying to find new ways to come back in the public eye. Epstein, who was arrested in mid-2019 on sex trafficking charges, died shortly after his arrest, while mutual friend Ghislaine Maxwell sits in jail for allegedly grooming young women & girls for Epstein.
Since the Epstein & Maxwell saga hasn’t concluded, it’s not clear why the prince thinks he should return to his public duties. Here’s a look into what Prince Andrew is accused of and the rumors of his possible return.
Allegations against Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew has been a controversial figure in Buckingham Palace for quite some time, spanning back to his younger years when known as being a partier, according to The Guardian. However, most of the Duke’s bad reputation stems from his relationships with Ghislaine Maxwell & Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell was the prince’s longtime friend. Maxwell was also the one to introduce Prince Andrew to Epstein in the 90s.
Prince Andrew & Epstein maintained their relationship throughout the years, even after Epstein became a convicted sex offender in 2008. Though he was criticized for his friendship with Epstein for a number of years, it wasn’t until Virginia Roberts Giuffre came forward in 2015. Giuffre alleged Epstein sex trafficked her to multiple high-profile individuals, including Prince Andrew, when she was seventeen, according to Time.
The Duke of York constantly denies all allegations against him, however, Giuffre still maintains her story and has revealed more information about her time with Epstein & Prince Andrew since she first revealed herself as Epstein’s victim. Though Prince Andrew said he would be helpful to U.S. authorities, prosecutors reported he hasn’t been cooperative, according to Reuters.
The fall of Prince Andrew
Following Giuffre’s accusations, Prince Andrew faced much more scrutiny not only in the UK, but also in the U.S. His reputation saw a further decline when the prince went on BBC’s Newsnight in November 2019. In the interview, Prince Andrew acknowledged his friendship with Epstein, even saying he didn’t regret the relationship and appreciated learning about trade & business with Epstein.
The prince stated he never saw anything suspicious when he was with Epstein. However, the Duke of York admitted he had been on Epstein’s private plane, a.k.a. The Lolita Express, Epstein’s private island, a.k.a. Island of Sin, and he’s been to Epstein’s New York & Palm Beach estates. The prince stated he visited Epstein after he was a convicted sex offender because he wanted to learn about the “international business world”.
About Giuffre’s allegations, the prince claimed he had never met Giuffre and denied having sex with her, saying he was at a Pizza Express. Giuffre previously mentioned how Prince Andrew profusely sweats, but the prince claims he has a “peculiar medical condition” where he “didn’t sweat at the time” because of “an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War”. The interview was panned, with many calling it a “TV car crash”.
Is he planning on making a comeback?
Mere days after the “train wreck”, “disastrous”, “nuclear explosion level bad” interview, Prince Andrew announced he would be stepping back from his public duties “for the foreseeable future”. Experts saw the backlash of the interview as one of the biggest royal scandals since Princess Diana’s death in 1997, according to The New York Times.
Despite the allegations against him & the public outcry from the infamous interview, the prince might be asking to come back into the public eye, according to a source from The Telegraph. Sources have said he’s trying to find ways to “serve his country” in spite of his bad reputation. Since he hasn’t been formally cast out of the royal family, he still could possibly make a comeback, though he might face even more scrutiny than before.
Even still, the royal family has stated he shouldn’t come back to the public eye until after the Epstein case is resolved. In the meantime, the prince has attempted to redeem his public image. However, when Maxwell’s deposition from a lawsuit between herself & Giuffre was recently unsealed, the prince’s name was mentioned, reigniting speculation about the relationship between Prince Andrew, Maxwell, & Epstein.
More than just criminal allegations
Even before Giuffre’s specific allegations, Prince Andrew had already taken a backseat on his responsibilities starting in 2011. According to the BBC, he stepped down as UK trade envoy because of his relationship with Epstein, but he had previously faced criticism for how he conducted business prior to the criticism of his friendship.
There were a lot of controversial & questionable moves the Duke of York made, as he had lunches and went on vacations with controversial individuals, but his diplomacy style was also questioned, as he spoke “cockily” & “verging on rude”, according to the BBC. At meetings, the prince reportedly went off-course frequently, but people were “afraid to point it out”, according to the BBC.
Former diplomat Simon Wilson wrote to The Daily Mail, saying Prince Andrew was commonly known as HBH, or “His Buffoon Highness”, by Gulf diplomats. Wilson went on to mention how Prince Andrew was criticized for his unnecessary trips, saying there were questions about “the value” taxpayers got out of his many trips abroad. The prince also required a team of six and a six-foot ironing board he “insisted” to bring on trips.