Selasa, 14 September 2021

Andrew shoots as assault case hits court -

The “buoyant” and “bullish” Prince Andrew is said to be planning his royal comeback despite facing civil teen rape allegations.

The question of just what sort of parents the royal family are has been one of the reigning (boom tish) themes of this year’s annus horribilis 2.0 for the house of Windsor, after Prince Harry accused his British relatives of “total neglect.”

(That and introducing the world to the concept of “genetic pain” – coming to a Subaru bumper sticker or embroidered dream catcher near you soon.)

That vexing notion of just how rubbish the royal family is at raising kids is back in the news again thanks to the oedipal car crash that is the Queen’s relationship with Prince Andrew.

Namely, today’s question is, what sort of mother lets her son host a shooting party at her house hours before a US court hears allegations he sexually assaulted a teenage girl?

See, as the clock ticked down to the first pre-trial hearing in ‘sex slave’ Virginia Giuffre’s (formerly Roberts) civil case against Prince Andrew (she alleges he raped her on three occasions, claims he strenuously denies) he was kicking up his heels in Scotland with his mates.

Last week, for the second time this northern summer, Andrew made a beeline for the Queen’s Scottish estate Balmoral to allegedly avoid being officially served with the Giuffre case’s court papers, arriving with his ex-wife and Royal Lodge roommate Sarah, the Duchess of York.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that Andrew and his mother had held 90-minute talks at a fishing lodge elsewhere on the estate.

Now it turns out that not only has Her Majesty provided her son with a place to escape prying eyes and those pesky process servers but it has emerged that Andrew, the world’s most famous non-sweater, has been having a jolly good time with his chums up there too.

The Sun reports that Andrew has just hosted a shooting party at the Deeside estate, with guests believed to include the Crown Prince of Bahrain who also happens to be the tiny country’s Prime Minister.

(Not-so-fun fact: The US State Department has reported “significant human rights issues” in the gulf state including the use of torture, while the country that has posted a 600 per cent increase in use of the death penalty over the last decade. All independent media is also banned and all opposition groups have been “dissolved”.)

That Crown Prince sure sounds like a swell guy to have around to shoot some small birds for fun, no?

Of Andrew’s knees-up, The Sun quoted a royal source as saying: “This is so brazen it is unbelievable. Prince Andrew is carrying on like nothing has happened and as if he hasn’t got a care in the world.

“It has been bad enough that he appears to have been seeking refuge at Balmoral, where the Queen is trying to have quiet time after a tough year, but to host a shooting party, with some dubious guests shows disrespect to the monarchy. And it is also tone deaf as if he does not care about what is going on with the legal case.”

The fact that Andrew chose to spend the days before a New York court heard from lawyers representing Ms Giuffre and himself for the first time by hosting a get-together for his titled and highly questionable chums reads like a two-fingered salute to the world.
Short of making up his own sign and ambling down to the castle’s front gate to hold it up for reporters, is hard to think of a gesture that more loudly and pointedly says, ‘F**k you’.

While the Duke of York has long disputed Ms Giuffre’s claims that they met and had sex in London, New York, and on convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean, that does not give him license to behave with such outrageous disregard for what is happening beyond the Balmoral fences.

Andrew’s decision to enjoy a spot of tweedy socialising speaks volumes, telegraphing his inherent disdain for public sentiment, how the optics of this party might affect his mother and the monarchy and his overall refusal to accept even a jot of responsibility for the shame his behaviour continues to heap on the royal family.

A better man would be mortified to have put his beloved mumsy and family in this position but apparently we are not dealing with a better man here, are we?

To be clear here, Andrew has not been charged with any crime, nor has there ever been any suggestion he might.

But – and this is the big, fat ‘but’ here – what no one can argue with is that he spent five days in the home of a man who was a convicted sex offender and then, in catastrophically and ignominiously trying to justify his actions, Andrew has done more to stain the royal family’s reputation than every other palace-adjacent scandal of the last 50 years combined.

It is not only Andrew who deserves to be in the firing line for letting this current situation stand but Her Majesty as well.

In mid-August, The Daily Beast reported that lawyers from Her Majesty’s longtime go-to legal firm Farrer & Co had written to major media outlets to warn them to stay away from Balmoral on the same day that her beleaguered son arrived there.

A week later, The Times revealed the 95-year-old sovereign had “let it be known” she wanted Andrew to keep his plum position as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, despite forcing Prince Harry to relinquish his honorary military titles after similarly stepping down as a working member of the royal family.

The Queen not only gets to rule England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island but is the head of the Church of England. With that title, with that lofty position, surely comes a pressing moral responsibility. Where is that honour-bound duty right now?

After having let her son essentially hide out on her property to allegedly avoid being served and to try to continue to dodge the fallout from his very questionable choices?

If the monarch keeps this up, if she keeps going out of her way to protect her 61-year-old son from the consequences of his actions, then no flurry of pretty Kate, Duchess of Cambridge engagements or cute pictures of a gambolling Prince George will soothe a savage, angry nation.

Just in case you think that Andrew scheduling a chummy shindig before the first hearing was as low as things could go here, let me mirthlessly laugh.

According to reports, Andrew “bullishly” believes he can and will make a comeback and will re-enter public life, potentially as early as next year.

A source close to the Duke has told The Mirror’sroyal editor Russell Myers that “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,” the source said.

Another source told Myers the disgraced former trade envoy has been in a “buoyant” mood and that “the plan, if you can call it a plan, is to say absolutely nothing in the face of these allegations”.

“Andrew claims he hasn’t read the news and hasn’t kept up with what is happening around him, which anyone can see is not only catastrophic for his reputation but very damaging for the wider royal family.”

Elsewhere, The Telegraph has also reported that Andrew is “bullish” and that he is said to be “utterly convinced” he will be able to resume royal duties.

That attitude stands in stark contrast to the fact a UK poll found that 83 per cent of those surveyed last month reported having a negative view of the Prince, proving that dislike for the former naval officer might be the only thing post-Brexit Britain can wholeheartedly agree on.

This week’s events have only cemented my dream (though one potentially also held by 83 per cent of Brits) that the Duke will up sticks, move the Outer Hebrides with his golf clubs and stay there. Heck, he can even take the Bahraini Crown Prince with him.

That two years after Epstein’s death, and nearly two years after his Newsnight interview, Andrew still seems to be operating under the assumption that he can stage a comeback, no matter the outcome of the New York court case, is simply astounding.

The man clearly has no shame and to borrow from one of the landmark cultural and political movements of the 21st century, Time’s Up. The Outer Hebrides are calling.

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years experience working with Australia’s largest media titles.

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2021-09-14 09:30:35Z

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