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Prince Andrew’s working on it.
That was the message that Buckingham Palace, in an astonishing display of arrogance, delivered to the world Tuesday morning, after a shocking and unprecedented statement by New York prosecutor Geoffrey Berman, who said the prince had offered “zero co-operation” on its investigations into Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew pledged his assistance in a public statement issued as he tried to repair the damage done by his disastrous BBC interview, saying at the time: “I am willing to help any appropriate law-enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
In the actual interview, he had failed to express regret for his friendship with Epstein, offered a variety of bizarre excuses to deny the claims of Virginia Roberts Giuffre, and did not show any form of compassion for her or Epstein’s victims.
Officially, the palace is refusing to comment at all, arguing that Andrew, who was stripped of his royal duties last year, is no longer formally represented by the palace. But in a series of off-the-record briefings, journalists were told that the issue was “being dealt with by the Duke of York’s legal team.”
Keep calm and carry on, eh?
One might almost have thought that the British monarchy had not been a roiling tempest of crisis management for the past six months, so casual has been the response to this latest disaster to afflict the firm.
Into the news void left by the palace have leapt celebrity attorneys Lisa Bloom and her mother, Gloria Allred—who between them are representing at least six of Epstein’s alleged victims—and Virginia Roberts Giuffre herself, who alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrew several times and was photographed with him at Ghislaine Maxwell’s house.
Bloom told the BBC the alleged victims were “outraged” by the Duke of York not assisting the U.S. authorities and said, “I’m glad that Geoffrey Berman has gone public to try to embarrass Prince Andrew, who made one statement and then behind closed doors is doing something very different. The five Epstein victims who I represent are outraged and disappointed at Prince Andrew's behavior here.
“If Prince Andrew truly has done nothing wrong, then it’s incumbent upon him to go and speak to the FBI at a time that’s convenient for him and say what he knows. Perhaps he can help bring other people to justice.”
Allred said Tuesday morning that she had sent a letter to Prince Andrew’s home urging him to co-operate, but hadn’t received a response.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today, “No response is the same as zero co-operation. This is ridiculous. It’s just not acceptable. Prince Andrew has a moral obligation to volunteer to speak to law enforcement—that’s what he said he would do.”
One can only wonder how the Queen, 93, and Prince Philip, 98, must be feeling at the speed with which their children have destroyed the royal virtues of discretion and irreproachability.
The announcement in New York came after several incidents that showed Andrew had not lost the support of his mother, despite the allegations being made against him.
He has been pictured attending church with her, riding on the Windsor Great Park estate, and journalists have been briefed that Andrew has been supporting his mother through the turmoil of Harry and Meghan’s departure from the royal family.
As a reminder, here’s Andrew reluctantly promising to help out if “push came to shove.” That moment has, surely, arrived.