Prince Andrew’s confidence in the face of his ever-evolving Jeffrey Epstein legal quagmire is squarely rooted in his overweening sense of privilege.
“Everything you hear about Andrew’s personality is true and then some,” one former royal aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, recently told The Daily Beast. “He is the most extraordinarily arrogant man. I have no doubt that he absolutely believes all this will go away and he will be welcomed back into the fold by a grateful public. There is no self-doubt there at all.”
Prince Andrew’s conviction that, despite the disgrace of the past two years, he will one day return to public life, so eloquently shared by this former royal staffer, has surfaced again this week.
Confidence of this outcome appears to be running high, in Andrew’s mind, at least, as reported by the Mirror, which quoted an insider as saying: “He has a clear and burning desire to return to work as soon as possible. That may look entirely impossible but if anything he’s become emboldened in recent weeks and remains utterly convinced he will not only be exonerated but will certainly forge a way back to public life.
“Certainly he has given the incredibly bullish impression that this will all blow over within a short while, rather than become a protracted issue.”
As unrealistic and fantastical example of wishful thinking as this may seem to outsiders, there is no doubt that full restoration to his former position remains, in Andrew’s mind, an achievable goal.
The arrogance of such a position is hard to overstate. The public may hate him, the American justice system is keen to get its claws into him, and his own brother regards him as an embarrassing stain on the family name—but Andrew seems, as ever, to be quietly confident about his prospects.
There is one very important factor in Andrew’s favor. He has, it would appear, the unwavering personal support of the most powerful person in the land—his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
His favored-son status was evident when it was reported this week by the Daily Mail that upon arrival at Balmoral on Tuesday, he was whisked off to a 90-minute “summit” lunch meeting with his mother at one of the estate’s remote fishing lodges. (While some might take umbrage at lunch in an old shed perched on a windswept hillside, in the looking-glass world of the British aristocracy, the studied informality of such meals makes them golden ticket-worthy.)
One doubts that much, if any, of the conversation between mother and son was devoted to the pesky civil lawsuit accusing him of raping one of his pedophile friend Epstein’s sex trafficking victims which is due to open on Monday in New York. Andrew has made it clear he has absolutely no intention of even legitimizing—as he sees it—the suit with a response.
From a purely practical point of view, why should he? The American courts can impose whatever default penalties they like as far as Andrew is concerned. Lawyers have previously told The Daily Beast the authorities will likely never be able to extract a red cent from him.
One item that may have come up for discussion at the mother and son meeting, however are any ongoing plans to commemorate Andrew’s late father. Indeed, Philip’s demise has offered a new and important opportunity for Andrew to reclaim the spot he has always seemed rather fond of—center stage.
It was widely noted that Andrew was rather quick to pop up outside church on camera with a lengthy update about how his mother was coping just 48 hours after her husband died in April. Now, incredibly, Andrew, despite his personal and legal problems, is to feature alongside his brothers and sister as a contributor in a new BBC documentary in which the royals pay tribute to the life of Prince Philip.
There is nothing to suggest he will receive anything other than equal billing in the show, with the BBC pointedly noting; “The Queen and Duke’s four children will all appear in Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers, as will their adult grandchildren and other family members.”
You might think that Andrew is delivering an unparalleled masterclass in arrogance. That, however, would be to disregard the performance of his brother Prince Charles. Charles has claimed total ignorance (funny how often the royals turn to that trusty concept when the heat is on) of an alleged corrupt cash-for-honors scheme said to have been masterminded by his key aide, Michael Fawcett.
Charles has professed ignorance, despite having personally bestowed the honorific CBE (Commander of the British Empire) on Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz in a secretive ceremony that was, mysteriously, not recorded in Charles’ public diary.
Charles is asking the public (and the Scottish Charity Regulator, which is investigating the affair) to believe that he had no idea the honor he presented was linked to the donor’s generosity to Charles’ estates, where two pieces of woodland have been named in Mahfouz’s honor.
Fawcett has stepped down, Charles has said he has never heard anything about it, and that, as far as he is concerned, is it.
The entitlement and presumption of these brothers is head-spinning. It seems there is something about being a Windsor that precludes them from saying one word in particular: Sorry.
Queen Elizabeth’s strengths as Britain’s longest serving monarch have often been remarked upon. Unfortunately, she may not have done quite such an impeccable job when it came to the instilling of humility in her children.