News

Today is Prince Andrew’s birthday. But there what is there to celebrate for the beleaguered royal?


At one time, Prince Andrew had it all. 

Not just the Queen’s favourite son, he was a naval officer and decorated war hero whose dashing looks made him the ‘Playboy Prince’ – one of Britain’s most eligible men.

Recently, however, the Duke of York has become better known for one of the most extraordinary falls from grace ever experienced by a member of the Royal Family.

Today, he turns 64. But it is not clear how much celebration there will be at Royal Lodge, his grand home in Windsor Great Park.  

Prince Andrew and King Charles pictured  together as the attend a Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee at St Paul's in June 2012

Prince Andrew and King Charles pictured  together as the attend a Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee at St Paul’s in June 2012

The late Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with their children, Princess Anne, Prince Charles and baby Prince Andrew on his first holiday to Balmoral in September 1960

The late Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with their children, Princess Anne, Prince Charles and baby Prince Andrew on his first holiday to Balmoral in September 1960

One of the first pictures of the new-born Prince Andrew in in the arms of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. It was taken at Buckingham Palace in March 1960

One of the first pictures of the new-born Prince Andrew in in the arms of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. It was taken at Buckingham Palace in March 1960

The Queen, Prince Andrew, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne on board the Aircraft Carrier HMS Invincible in September 1982 after the Prince Andrew's return from active service on the Falkland Islands

The Queen, Prince Andrew, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne on board the Aircraft Carrier HMS Invincible in September 1982 after the Prince Andrew’s return from active service on the Falkland Islands

Andrew’s ill-advised association with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein led him to be stripped of his royal patronages and military affiliations, and to his forced retreat from public life. 

In 2015, Virginia Giuffre (formerly Roberts) claimed in a lawsuit that she had been made by Epstein to have sex with Prince Andrew on three separate occasions when she was 17.

Later, in 2021, Giuffre filed a lawsuit against the prince over the alleged encounters. He denied the claims repeatedly, but in 2022, settled the case – while making no admission – with a payoff to Giuffre. 

The Prince has strenuously denied all wrong doing and continues to do so. There is speculation that he had been under pressure to settle so as not to overshadow the Platinum Jubilee of his late mother, the Queen, that same year.

His reputation, however, remains in tatters.

The Epstein affair is far from the first time Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s third child has found himself at the centre of controversy.

Here, on his 64th birthday, Mail Online looks back over his life.

Born on 19 February 1960 at Buckingham Palace, Andrew Albert Christian Edward was the was the first child born to a reigning monarch in 103 years.

For the first 22 years of his life – until the birth of Prince William – he was the second in line to the throne: the spare to Prince Charles’s heir, enabling him to enjoy a freedom never available to his brother.

After his education at Heatherdown Preparatory School and Gordonstoun in Scotland, the latter famously loathed by Charles during his own time there, he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Navy in 1979.

In 1981, he achieved his childhood dream of becoming a pilot when he received his ‘wings’ and the best pilot award from Prince Philip.

In April 1982, he was sent to the Falkland Islands as part of the Royal Navy task force tasked with evicting Argentine invaders from the British territory, cutting a brave, adventurous figure as a helicopter pilot during the 10-week war.

It was for a particularly daring sort of mission that Andrew became famous: ‘decoying’ enemy anti-ship missiles. By the time Britain was victorious, causing the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s approval ratings to soar, Andrew had become a national hero, earning the nickname Randy Andy thanks to his liaisons with a string of beautiful women including the actress Koo Stark.

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding at Westminster Abbey in July 1986

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson on the Balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding at Westminster Abbey in July 1986

The Duke and Duchess of York with their two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Eugenie pictured in 2001

The Duke and Duchess of York with their two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Eugenie pictured in 2001

Soon after, Prince Andrew met Sarah Ferguson. Though they had known each other since they were children because Fergie’s father, retired army major Ronald, had played polo together when they were children, and her father was also the polo manager for Prince Charles, it was Princess Diana who set up her brother-in-law with the vivacious red-head in 1985.

‘We were made to sit next to each other,’ Andrew said of Diana’s matchmaking during their engagement interview. ‘It was at Ascot, as it were, that the whole thing took off.’

Andrew and Fergie were engaged just nine months later, and in July 1986 they were married at Westminster Abbey and given the titles of the Duke and Duchess of York by the Queen.

They had two children together, Princess Beatrice, born in August of 1988, and Princess Eugenie, born in March of 1990.

However, the marriage was soon beset by troubles, the most memorable of which involved pictures of Fergie having her toes sucked by American businessman John Bryan being splashed over the front pages of the newspapers in 1992.

Later, she said of that year, which the Queen dubbed her ‘annus horribilis’: ‘From early on that year, Andrew and I had been discussing a separation. Not because we’d stopped caring for one another, but because I had reached the end of my royal rope.’

They divorced in 1996, but remain close to this day, even sharing a home at Royal Lodge in Windsor.

After leaving active military service in 2001, Prince Andrew became the UK’s special representative for international trade and investment, but his 10 years in the role generated a great deal of controversy.

His associations with corrupt politicians in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Libya and Turkmenistan raised concerns.

His judgment was questioned after he held meetings with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif, and when he entertained the son-in-law of Tunisia’s ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at Buckingham Palace.

His relations with Timor Kulibayev, son-in-law of the president of Kazakhstan, were also scrutinised after Mr Kulibayev purchased the duke’s Sunninghill Park home for £3 million more than its £12 million asking price in 2007.

He also became known as ‘Air Miles Andy’ after spending thousands flying everywhere by helicopter, often managing to work a visit to the golf course into his working trips.

Indeed, it was often wondered what exactly the prince was doing on all these foreign jaunts. Simon Wilson, Britain’s deputy head of mission in Bahrain from 2001 to 2005, wrote in the Daily Mail that the duke was ‘more commonly known among the British diplomatic community in the Gulf as HBH: His Buffoon Highness.’

In 2010, Fergie had to apologise for a ‘serious lapse in judgement’ after she was exposed by a News of the World sting operation by Mazher Mahmood, the ‘fake sheikh’, in which she promised to obtain access to her former husband in return for £500,000.

The following year, Andrew’s trade envoy career came to a halt following the revelation that he was friends with the American financier Epstein, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York attend day three of Royal Ascot in 2019

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York attend day three of Royal Ascot in 2019

The late Queen is  joined by various members of the British Royal Family for the Trooping the Colour fly-past in 2019. Andrew, said to have been her favourite child, stands by her side

The late Queen is  joined by various members of the British Royal Family for the Trooping the Colour fly-past in 2019. Andrew, said to have been her favourite child, stands by her side

King Charles III, Anne, Princess Royal, and Prince Andrew at Westminster Abbey for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022 in London. Having been forced to relinquish front line royal duties, Prince Andrew was barred from wearing military uniform

King Charles III, Anne, Princess Royal, and Prince Andrew at Westminster Abbey for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022 in London. Having been forced to relinquish front line royal duties, Prince Andrew was barred from wearing military uniform

Photographs of the two walking in Central Park surfaced — after Epstein had served his time in jail. It was later revealed that Andrew had previously stayed at Epstein’s homes in Florida and Manhattan.

Following Epstein’s suicide in August 2019, the duke decided to give a ‘no holds barred’ interview to BBC’s Newsnight about his former friendship with the convicted sex offender. It was an unmitigated disaster.

He denied ever meeting Giuffre, offering a series of bizarre excuses to demonstrate why her claims he had sex with her were false, including that he was not able to sweat, that he was in Pizza Express in Woking, and that he had a tendency to be ‘too honourable’.

It has been reported that, failing to realise the interview had been a catastrophe,  Prince Andrew had initially been pleased with his performance.

 But his words opened the door to Giuffre’s legal action against him, which was settled, apparently with his mother’s money, in 2022. 

Devastatingly for him, it was with the Queen’s approval that he was stripped of his royal duties and titles.

Following the Queen’s death and Charles’s accession to the throne, it seems even less likely Andrew will regain a prominent public position within the family. The King and Prince William are both said to be determined that, while he remains part of teh family, there is no way back to royal duties.

There has also been speculation that the King wishes Andrew to leave his home of more than 20 years, Royal Lodge.

More recent reports, however, suggest the brothers have reached an agreement which will permit Andrew and Sarah to stay in the 30-room mansion.

The Duke and Duchess of York are pictured leaving Royal Lodge in April 2023. Although the Duke and Duchess are divorced, the Duchess effectively lives in the same house as her former husband

The Duke and Duchess of York are pictured leaving Royal Lodge in April 2023. Although the Duke and Duchess are divorced, the Duchess effectively lives in the same house as her former husband

Prince Andrew with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, centre and right, as they attend Easter Sunday Mattins at Windsor Castle in March 2013

Prince Andrew with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, centre and right, as they attend Easter Sunday Mattins at Windsor Castle in March 2013

The Yorks have a lot on their plates . 

Last summer, Sarah was treated for breast cancer, and then in January, she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. She continues to support her former husband, recently saying that she promised the Queen prior to her death that she would be there for him.

The pair have three grandchildren: Princess Beatrice’s baby girl Sienna Mapelli Mozzi, born in September 2021, and Princess Eugenie’s two children, August Brooksbank, born in February 2021, and Ernest, born in May 2023.

Their focus will no doubt be on Sarah’s health in the coming months, but if Prince Andrew was hoping the dust was starting to settle on his disgrace, that’s unlikely: Scoop, the Netflix drama based on his Newsnight interview, is set to screen in the spring.



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button