MY HEART BREAKS FOR THE QUEEN

Scottish Daily Mail - - Andrew On The Ropes - by Bel Mooney

Of course it was in­evitable that I would watch the emily Maitlis in­ter­view with Prince Andrew wear­ing my ad­vice colum­nist’s hat. How could I not?

To be hon­est, even though the ad­vance pub­lic­ity had made my heart sink, I still wanted him to be con­vinc­ing, to be sym­pa­thetic, to of­fer a mit­i­gat­ing chink through which the com­pas­sion­ate heart could squeeze . . . and (pos­si­bly) forgive him.

But he did not. on the con­trary, it was as if a mock­ing sadist had handed the Queen’s beloved (some even say favourite) son a shovel and or­dered him to dig away at a huge hole, into which he would quickly top­ple — still protest­ing that he knew noth­ing, recog­nised no­body, was never there, had no idea about that pho­to­graph, could be faulted only for be­ing ‘too hon­ourable’.

end­less bat-squeaks of blus­ter­ing self-pity within the dark­ness of an un­be­liev­ably be­fud­dled mind.

What on earth pos­sessed him to give the in­ter­view?

He said that he’d been in talks with News­night for months about a way of high­light­ing his char­i­ta­ble work — so was his mo­ti­va­tion a form of van­ity?

Did he think he would come across as a fun­da­men­tally de­cent, mis­un­der­stood guy who just briefly got in with the wrong crowd, but that’s all over now, so let’s fo­cus on his good works?

It as­ton­ishes me that it hasn’t dawned on this man of nearly 60 that TV is a piti­less medium — show­ing up ev­ery blink, ev­ery squirm, ev­ery sud­den tens­ing of a foot.

It as­ton­ishes me that he has no un­der­stand­ing . . . full stop.

YeT this is a man who is still loved, ad­mired and de­fended by his ex-wife. This is a lov­ing and beloved father of two daugh­ters — young women who must be full of ut­ter mis­ery to­day.

I make no apol­ogy for feel­ing full of com­pas­sion for Beatrice and eu­ge­nie, as well as re­spect for sarah fer­gu­son’s loy­alty to the father of her girls.

If we can­not ex­er­cise the very em­pa­thy that Andrew failed to show for Jef­frey ep­stein’s ex­ploited vic­tims dur­ing the in­ter­view, then surely harm is dou­bled?

so let oth­ers ar­tic­u­late all the an­gry dis­be­lief I cer­tainly felt when watch­ing that car-crash in­ter­view. The point is, my later re­flec­tions have been more full of sor­row than rage.

Pity for the flawed man at the mercy of Maitlis’s cool in­tel­li­gence?

No — be­cause I can­not be­lieve that some­body who has en­joyed such priv­i­lege could have no inkling of how his ‘non-sweat’ claim and his pizza party al­ibi (‘I re­mem­ber it be­cause it was weird for me to go to Wok­ing’) would sound.

And not notic­ing the ‘staff’ at ep­stein’s house (which quite pos­si­bly in­cluded very young girls). There can be no ex­cuse for such ar­ro­gance and ig­no­rance.

I do, how­ever, feel sad for his fam­ily. Andrew’s broth­ers and sis­ter may well be mut­ter­ing: ‘He’s a bloody fool’ — but what of his mother?

As a pas­sion­ate monar­chist, I care deeply about what hap­pens to the whole royal fam­ily, and it breaks my heart to think of what the Queen has to en­dure now — es­pe­cially after the re­cent ad­verse pub­lic­ity di­rected at the Duke and Duchess of sus­sex. Twelve years of writ­ing my satur­day ad­vice col­umn for the Mail has ex­posed me to the full range of hu­man stu­pid­ity, weak­ness, shame, anger and grief.

I reg­u­larly re­ceive prob­lem let­ters from moth­ers whose sons (or daugh­ters) — the ones they loved so much as chil­dren and for whom they cher­ished such hopes — have badly let them down.

They ask how they can bal­ance shame with for­give­ness. They won­der how long you can go on sup­port­ing some­one who has brought dis­grace on the fam­ily — through crime or drugs, for ex­am­ple.

or they ex­press the in­tense ir­ri­ta­tion that calls into ques­tion the un­con­di­tional love of par­ent­hood.

They ask me — some­times piteously, some­times re­sent­fully — whether it could have been their fault. What went wrong?

such painfully mixed-up feel­ings are com­mon within fam­i­lies. And the Wind­sors are a fam­ily.

I hap­pen to think it es­sen­tial to re­mem­ber that pain has noth­ing to do with priv­i­lege and that hu­mil­i­a­tion is just as hor­ri­ble when ex­pe­ri­enced on a gilded chair.

You may not agree. You may wish to see Prince Andrew rolling along in a tum­bril, closely fol­lowed by all his rel­a­tives. But I don’t.

I wish he had spared us that in­ter­view. But, most of all, I wish he had had the com­mon sense and grace to spare the peo­ple who, I am sure — for all his many faults — he loves.

Stoic: The Queen in Wind­sor on Sunday morning

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