Buckingham Palace Quietly Told the World the Royal Family Still Supports Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew’s fall from grace has been a topic of much speculation and concern. While rumors — and confirmed connections — about Prince Andrew’s relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have been clouding the royal family for years, things have definitely come to a head in the past few months following Epstein’s apparent suicide.
With many public signals of Prince Andrew losing coveted positions of power, many speculated the royal family was cutting ties with the disgraced prince. New events, however, suggest the severed ties may not be as severe as previously thought. Is the royal family still supporting Prince Andrew after all?
Prince Andrew faces serious consequences for his actions
The most recent spate of controversies for Prince Andrew came to a boiling point when he took to BBC’s Newsnight in November to tell his side of the story. The interview was intended to help clear his image, but it backfired disastrously.
The most memorable (and oft-quoted) moments were when Prince Andrew defended the “convenience” of his relationship with Epstein. He went on to explain he had no regrets about the tainted friendship.
Within days of the interview hitting the public airwaves, Prince Andrew was forced to cancel work trips and back out of the public eye. Soon after, Prince Andrew officially stepped away from many of his royal duties as organizations signaled they were unwilling to work with him.
There was even speculation about whether he would still fill the role of walking his daughter, Princess Beatrice, down the aisle for her wedding. At this point, it seems he will, but the date has not yet been announced, and it’s possible the princess is trying to wait out the worst of the scandal.
Prince Andrew’s problems date back for several years
While the most recent controversy has resulted in the clearest consequences for Prince Andrew, his trouble with Epstein has been public knowledge for years.
The pair first met in 1999 and were seen together at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in 2000. In 2001, Virginia Roberts claimed that she was trafficked overseas by Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell for the specific purpose of having sex with Prince Andrew—all while she was underage.
Roberts claims to have been brought to Prince Andrew for the purposes of sex again at Epstein’s New York home and at Prince Andrew’s private Caribbean island.
At the time, the accusations were scandalous, but Prince Andrew denied any involvement, and Epstein had not been convicted of any such misdeeds. In 2008, that all changed.
Epstein was found guilty of prostituting minors and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Soon after Epstein was released in 2010, he was spotted with Prince Andrew at his New York home. The fallout from the photographs showing the pair together after Epstein’s conviction forced Prince Andrew to leave his U.K. trade envoy role.
In 2015, Prince Andrew was named in a U.S. lawsuit when Roberts again insisted she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew while she was underage. The royal family officially stood up for Prince Andrew and maintained that he had nothing to do with these crimes.
Is Prince Andrew really being distanced from the royal family?
In the past, the royal family has been outspokenly supportive of Prince Andrew in the face of these controversies. It seems, however, that things may have taken a turn.
After all, Prince Andrew has been shielded from the public eye and forced out of his royal roles. Many have been wondering if this means the royal family is finally distancing themselves from the disgraced prince.
New evidence, however, suggests the consequences may be more superficial. Queen Elizabeth held her annual Christmas party for royal staff, and Prince Andrew made a surprise appearance at the event.
Royal expert Phil Dampier claims the attendance is a signal to the public: “The fact that Andrew has turned up to this Christmas event at Buckingham Palace today shows that he is being supported by the rest of the royal family. If he had not gone, it would have looked terrible — like he was an outcast from his own relatives.”
While the queen seems to recognize the potential harm Prince Andrew’s scandal could bring upon the rest of the family, she does not appear ready to sever ties with him completely. His appearance at this public event suggests that his other consequences could be short-lived as well.