The Daily Telegraph
A daft idea for an arrogant, not very bright, man
Prince Andrew is not a bad person, he’s just not very bright. I worked in the royal press office in the Eighties and Nineties, and met Andrew on several occasions. He’s affable enough, but has a reputation for arrogance and poor judgment.
This interview shows the problems the Duke of York makes for himself by not thinking things through properly. To start with, why would you choose to be friends with Jeffrey Epstein? Andrew says it was for the contacts book it brought. Seriously? A prince of the realm, the son of the Queen, needs help networking? He’s one of the best connected people on the planet.
His performance was baffling. To start, there’s the bizarre explanation of why he chose to stay at Epstein’s house after his conviction, which Andrew says was so he could tell him that they could no longer be friends. Surely a phone call is sufficient? Or, if he really wanted to do it in person, he could have stayed in a hotel.
Other things make no sense. You have to wonder how his mind works if he can’t remember meeting Virginia Roberts, but can vividly remember a meal in Pizza Express in Woking.
It was daft to do the interview in the first place. He apparently originally arranged it to discuss the work he’s doing. But he should have been clever enough to know that royal television interviews almost never go to plan. Take the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The only part of the documentary about their Africa tour anyone remembers is a clip of Meghan saying she has struggled in the spotlight. Then there’s Prince Charles’s 1994 documentary. Twenty-five years on the adultery admission still hangs over him. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happens to Prince Andrew.
The only person who manages to make it work is the Queen. She stays above it all by never giving away anything about her private life. Luckily for the Queen, she’s so well loved that I doubt Andrew’s misstep will damage her.
However, it is a problem for any work he wants to do in the future: what charity will want his reputation lingering over them? Prince Andrew wants to have his cake and eat it. He sees himself as a senior royal and in a special position as the second son of the Queen. He wants to have an official position for himself and his daughters, but without taking on the personal responsibilities that come with that, such as making wiser choices about his friendships.
This could lead to further problems for Prince Andrew. He could be called to testify to US investigators, which could bring up even more awkward details. Perhaps his team thought this interview was a case of crisis management. But they have created an even bigger crisis with no management.