The shamelessness of Britain’s Prince Andrew really does take some beating.
He has suggested that a photograph of him with his arm around a teenage sex trafficking victim was faked because he has “chubby fingers.” He said that same woman’s description of him pouring with sweat at a nightclub must be a lie because he cannot sweat (he can). He ascribed his week-long 2010 visit to Jeffrey Epstein to his extreme sense of honor. Don’t even mention his love of pizza.
Incredibly, Andrew now appears to be using his father’s death to crawl out from under the rock of royal exile to which his brother Charles, who has long struggled with him, banished him after the disastrous November 2019 Newsnight interview in which those, and many other questionable claims, including the cynical lie that he would co-operate with law enforcement inquiries into Epstein’s crimes, were made.
Coming out of church on Sunday morning, just 48 hours after the death of his father, whose greatest disdain was reserved for royals embarrassing the family, Andrew made a beeline for the camera and started giving what appeared to be an off-the-cuff interview to a news camera about how the entire royal family was “all feeling a great sense of loss.”
Andrew has clearly missed his media appearances. On and on he went. How grateful he was for the tributes paid to his father. How “calm” his father was as a man. He was also careful to suggest his father’s death had helped connect him to the proletariat, saying it “brought it home to me not just our loss but actually the loss that everybody else has felt, for so many people who have died and lost loved ones during the pandemic.”
It was shockingly unshocking to see Andrew, not a drop of perspiration on him despite having gained a few extra pounds, bad British teeth and all, standing there in his black suit, acting like nothing had happened, freelancing away for the cameras.
Maybe we had all just imagined the past year and a half, especially the bit where Prince Charles, now more than ever the acting head of the royal family, had stripped him of all his royal patronages, kicked him out of his office in Buckingham Palace, and removed his obscene $300,000 a year grant from the British taxpayer.
It was, at first, all rather inoffensive waffle that was emanating from Andrew’s mouth. It might not have even made the evening news. But if there is one thing that is guaranteed to galvanize the British public, it is insight into that most mysterious of things: how the queen is actually feeling, up close and in private.
Asked about the effect of Philip’s death on Her Majesty, Andrew, stunningly, decided to go there: “She described it as having left a huge void in her life,” he said, adding that she had described her husband’s passing as a “miracle.”
His words were plastered over news websites and TV stations within moments.
Given that Andrew was filmed outside the private Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Castle, which he had attended along with other members of the royal family including his younger brother, Prince Edward (who spoke more traditionally to reporters outside the chapel saying that his father’s death was a “dreadful shock”) there was at first an assumption that Andrew had been given permission to speak to the media.
Had Charles had a change of heart? It seemed incredible, but was Andrew back on his way inside the charmed circle, entitled to free food and air miles once again?
On Monday, however, leaks began trickling out suggesting that that assumption was far from an accurate characterization.
Dan Wooton, the journalist who broke the news that Harry and Meghan were leaving the U.K., reported in the Daily Mail that sources had told him: “Prince Andrew might hope that this sad situation changes things, but Prince Charles is adamant there is no way back while allegations hang over him. He spoke on camera in a private capacity because this is a family event. No one can stop him doing that.”
Neither the palace nor an advisory firm retained by Prince Andrew responded to inquiries from The Daily Beast.
Andrew’s fantasy of a comeback has been oft-reported over the past two years. And he is still at it, with a source described as “close to Prince Andrew” telling Wooton, “He still harbors thoughts that he can make a comeback. He genuinely thinks that’s possible.”
If Andrew needs any further reminder that he is no longer welcome in public life or in British sitting rooms, and that his father’s death changes nothing, he may want to consider this statistic: Almost 400 people have already written to the BBC to complain about Andrew featuring on the corporation’s coverage.