November 19, 2019 09:12:19
Not since Princess Diana told the world “there were three of us in this marriage” has an interview with a British Royal gripped a nation.
Just as Diana did, almost a quarter of a century later Prince Andrew has the full attention of the people, minus the affection.
Apparently, the Duke of York’s ambition was to draw a line under the allegations revolving around his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
He’s achieved the opposite. And day after day he continues to make the headlines — the latest is the news that accountancy firm KPMG, a founding sponsor of the Duke’s Pitch@Palace initiative, will not renew its contract.
What a headache for the Queen — her second son’s evasive answers have raised serious questions about his character, integrity and judgement, and added to speculation over the breakdown of coordination and control at Buckingham Palace.
“It’s just the last thing you want,” the BBC’s royal correspondent Jonny Dymond told the ABC.
“The Royal family is supposed to exist as a unifying institution, and it is not doing an awful lot of unifying at the moment.”
Reports of a rift between Prince William and Harry and legal action against some of the UK’s largest media organisations by the Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan are also fuelling the commentary of instability behind the palace walls.
“This is horrible for the Royal family, it’s horrible for the brand,” Dymond said.
The allegations of sex with a minor are so serious they cannot be brushed aside with a simple “I don’t recall” and the FBI could soon be knocking at Prince Andrew’s door.
For former British newspaper editor Paul Connew, a key moment of the interview came with Prince Andrew admitting he had met Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of recruiting under-age sex victims for Jeffrey Epstein, in London earlier this year.
“When you consider that the FBI, media and lawyers for Epstein’s victims have been trying to get hold of the rather elusive Ms Maxwell, that is rather interesting,” Connew told the ABC.
“It may be the key factor in compelling Prince Andrew to cooperate and given sworn testimony to the US authorities.”
Ms Maxwell denies any wrongdoing.
Lawyers for Epstein’s victims will use any interview to further their case and redouble their calls for Prince Andrew to be interviewed by US authorities.
Did the Queen approve?
The allegations have hovered over the Royal family for months and are damaging beyond measure for a brand that demands exemplary behaviour.
Some British newspapers have even gone so far as to suggest the Queen is losing her grip on the “the firm” — a colloquial term for the Royal family supposedly coined by the Duke of Edinburgh.
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“Whether the Queen knew what has happening is open to questioning — there were two or three different versions of how much she knew of the nature of the interview,” Connew said.
“Andrew is pretty headstrong and in a sense arrogant, while also being naive in thinking he could actually control this and win favour in the court of public opinion.”
Far from convincing a suspicious public, Prince Andrew has made his official life very difficult going forward.
His PR team — one of whom has already resigned — will surely advise him to hide away and avoid the cameras for as long as possible.
His decision to appear in the interview was a massive personal and public relations error, but that’s usually a sign it was in the best interests of the public and the people’s right to know.
November 19, 2019 06:19:22
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