Prince Andrew’s Downfall: Here’s What You Need to Know


He was a dashing helicopter pilot and war hero, captivating millions of Britons during the war in the Falkland Islands. Royal viewers liked to say that he was a favorite of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Today, however, Prince Andrew, 61, is stirring worldwide disgrace and disgust over allegations that he raped a teenager in 2001.

The prince has repeatedly denied the allegations. But this week, his once gleaming royal life was irreparably shattered after a federal judge in Manhattan ruled a civil suit over the sexual abuse allegations could go ahead.

Buckingham Palace’s response was swift and punitive. Just a day later, the prince’s 95-year-old mother stripped him of his military titles and royal patronage. In the future, the prince will no longer use the title “His Royal Highness”, a symbol of his status as a senior member of the royal family. The Sun, a popular British tabloid, summed it up: Prince Andrew was “effectively banned”.

On the case looms the Prince’s friendship with former financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who, according to prosecutor Virginia Giuffre, had smuggled her to the Prince. Mr. Epstein committed suicide in prison in 2019.

The case has deeply shocked the royal family, already ravaged by scandals and the resentful departure of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. The timing could hardly have been worse: Queen Elizabeth is poised to celebrate her 70th birthday on the throne this year, and the monarchy – the symbol and unifier of an often troubled nation – has sought to polish and renew its brand for generations to come. .

The allegations against Prince Andrew raise questions about class, rights and toxic masculinity and have also exposed Britain’s changing face during the #MeToo era.

And while the monarchy has survived past crises — war, abdications, revolutions, murderous kings — the latter has also underlined how a resilient and venerable institution can still be battered by the bad behavior and poor judgment of its royal members.

Born on February 19, 1960, Prince Andrew attended Gordonstoun Boarding School in Scotland, his father’s alma mater. He seems to have inherited his father’s adventurous tendency and went on to have a distinguished military career.

A reserve, rather than heir, to the throne, his busy single life — coupled with actresses and models, among others — was tabloid fodder, earning him the nickname “Randy Andy” and a reputation as a playboy prince.

When he married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, he became the Duke of York. The marriage ended in divorce ten years later, amid allegations of infidelity. But the couple, who had two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, remained close. They continue to share a home at Royal Lodge, a residence near Windsor Castle.

While Prince Andrew was known as a rake as a young man, he earned respect after training as a naval officer and as a helicopter pilot during the war in the Falkland Islands. His appetite for risk became apparent in 2012 when, to raise money for charity, he abseiled from the 87th floor of the side of the Shard, an iconic London skyscraper.

Before he was entangled by scandal, Prince Andrew’s royal duties included serving as a trade representative for Britain, a role that put him in the orbit of the super-rich. He was a patron of dozens of charities and had eight British military titles.

Royal guards had seen him as the Queen’s favourite, possibly because of a funny personality and considerable military background that echoes his father.

Prince Andrew’s woes stem largely from his association with Mr. Epstein, who was being held on federal sex trafficking charges when he died, and Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently found guilty of conspiring with Mr. Epstein to recruit minors. care and abuse. girls. The charges against Prince Andrew surfaced in 2015 during a federal lawsuit against Mr. Epstein in Florida. A prosecutor, Mrs Giuffre, alleged that the prince raped her when she was 17.

After a disastrous BBC interview, broadcast in November 2019, in which he tried to explain his friendship with Mr Epstein – and sparked a backlash after labeling the convicted sex offender’s behavior “unbecoming” – the prince announced that he from public life indefinitely. During the interview, the prince said he had “no recollection” of meeting Ms Giuffre.

But he couldn’t explain a widely publicized photo taken in London showing his arm around the girl’s waist. He told the BBC he had no memory of the photo “ever taken”. He also made several outlandish claims to refute his accuser’s allegations, including that he was medically incapable of sweating. Ms. Giuffre has claimed that the Prince sweated profusely during one of their encounters.

In August 2021, Mrs. Giuffre is filing a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in federal court in Manhattan, reiterating her allegations. His lawyers have tried to have the case dropped, but a judge allowed the lawsuit on January 12.

Following the verdict this week in the sexual abuse lawsuit, Buckingham Palace announced that the prince would relinquish his military titles and royal charities. In a caustic rebuke, the palace also said the prince would no longer use the title “His Royal Highness”. The palace’s abbreviated statement stated that Andrew “would not continue to perform any public duties” and that he is “defending this case as a private individual.”

The language of the palace’s announcement seemed carefully calibrated to avert any attempt by the prince to rehabilitate himself.

The decision to strip Andrew of his military titles and the honorary title “His Royal Highness” puts him on a par with his cousin, Prince Harry, who was forced to give up after he and his wife retired from royal duties and to South America. moved. California in 2020.

Queen Elizabeth II will be on the throne for 70 years in February, which would present an opportunity to reshape the royal narrative after three years of unrelenting turmoil. But now the gruesome scene of a sexual abuse lawsuit unfolding in a Manhattan courtroom could put a damper on her celebrations. There are also deeper, more long-lasting risks to the monarchy as it seeks to remain relevant in the era of TikTok.

The Queen continues to be loved by the British public for her work ethic and long service; she has been served by 14 prime ministers, starting with Winston Churchill, and has supplanted Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in British history. But members of the younger generation have come of age at a time when scandal rocked the monarchy, and the allegations against Prince Andrew help cement that perception.

As it is, in multicultural Britain and beyond, some have already felt alienated from the monarchy following the departure of Meghan and Harry. The sense of being an anachronistic family out of touch with contemporary mores was reinforced during an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in which Meghan, a biracial former actress, raised the issue of racism within the royal family.

Andrew’s relegation to the royal wilderness will also bolster the royal model of Prince Charles, who will succeed his mother after her death and who has advocated a streamlined House of Windsor.

If both parties agree to a settlement, which would end the civil lawsuit, Prince Andrew probably wouldn’t have to admit liability or wrongdoing, but he could face significant financial costs. Under an agreed-upon scheduling order in the lawsuit, lawyers for Ms. Giuffre and Andrew must complete the legal discovery — the exchange of documents and taking expert statements — by July 14. If the case goes to a jury, it could lead to the public broadcast of tasteless and damaging details about the prince that could further undermine the monarchy.

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