What is Really Going on Between The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Andrew?

Published November 24th, 2019 - 11:17 GMT
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge  (Shutterstock)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (Shutterstock)
Until this meeting, she had simply not considered the picture’s significance. Some commentators have pointed out that when she gave it to this newspaper, she made no claim of having been sexually trafficked to him – but instead waited another four years.

The Duke of Cambridge is 'not a huge fan' of Prince Andrew, it was reported today, amid claims he 'hoodwinked' the Queen by not warning her he was about to discuss the scandal at length in a disastrous BBC interview. 

Andrew and the Queen had a 'son-to-mother' conversation, in which he let her know he was going to talk about his relationship with the late paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein but 'without going into details', a royal source said.

The Duke of Cambridge was unhappy with his uncle's behaviour and decided his removal from public life was 'the right thing to do', a source told The Sunday Times. 

Another said he had spoken to the Queen and Prince Charles about Andrew's future, adding: 'William is becoming more and more involved in decisions about the institution [monarchy] and he's not a huge fan of his uncle Andrew.'

Today, it emerged that the Duke of York's former wife Sarah Ferguson and daughter Princess Beatrice were among the key figures pressing him to go ahead with last weekend's much-criticised Newsnight interview.

The Mail on Sunday understands that the Duchess of York had been keen to end the speculation about Andrew's involvement with convicted paedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein ahead of Beatrice's wedding to property developer Edo Mapelli Mozzi next year.

Fergie is also believed to have been convinced that if the public could see the Duke – or 'my boy', as she is said to call him – talking in his own words about the scandal, they would be convinced that he was telling the truth.

She could hardly have been more wrong. Last week, Andrew stepped down from Royal duties amid unrelenting criticism of his performance. The revelation comes as it emerged:

Andrew secretly met Jeffrey Epstein's 'madam' Ghislaine Maxwell at Buckingham Palace just a fortnight after US prosecutors reopened probe into paedophile;
The Duke of York intends to make a grand comeback after clearing his name, but this risks putting him on a potential collision course with Prince Charles;
The Queen scrapped plans to host a party for Andrew to mark his 60th birthday in February;
A victim of Epstein claimed he raped her before bragging about his friendship with Andrew
A former lap dancer alleged the Duke blew a raspberry on her breasts at a party hosted by Epstein;
A photograph published for the first time in its entirety showed the interior of Ghislaine Maxwell's Belgravia home with Andrew having his arm around 17-year-old Virginia Roberts

Fergie had stayed away from meetings with the Newsnight team and was abroad when details of the interview were being finalised.

However, Beatrice, the couple's eldest daughter, was present along with Andrew's then-private secretary Amanda Thirsk.

Beatrice, 31, and Andrew met Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis and the programme's deputy editor, Stewart Maclean, at Buckingham Palace three days before filming to discuss the scope of the interview.

An insider said: 'Sarah [Ferguson] was abroad so Beatrice sat in on the discussions. Initially, Beatrice was sceptical that a television interview, which would inevitably delve into her father's private life, was such a good idea.

'She was asking lots of pertinent questions and had her doubts.

'But by the end of the meeting she was convinced by the Newsnight team and Amanda Thirsk that they had no choice – that it was the only way to put all the rumours behind them.

'It was clear that Fergie was always there in the background.'

So out-of-touch was the Prince that, when the interview was recorded two days before last Saturday's broadcast, he felt it had gone well.

The source says that the Yorks had hoped the BBC would screen the interview the same night and were disappointed when producers told them it would take a few days to prepare the footage.

The Prince has confirmed to friends in recent days that his former wife had backed his participation in the programme.

It is understood that Beatrice, with the benefit of hindsight, is now mortified that she did not do more to stop the interview going ahead, not least as it casts an even greater shadow over her forthcoming wedding.

It also leaves her and younger sister Eugenie in a difficult position when it comes to their future roles as working princesses.

The source said: 'Even though she's their daughter, both Sarah and Andrew rely on Beatrice's judgment a lot when it comes to dealing with the public as she's got an old head on young shoulders.

'You can't really blame Beatrice because I think the odds were stacked against her on this one.

'Andrew, Fergie and Amanda decided they had to do it.'

Andrew's performance and its aftermath seem to have hit the Princess hard and she was tearful while hosting a party for her fiance's 36th birthday at the exclusive Mayfair nightclub Annabel's on Tuesday night.

One member of the Princess's circle said that what should have been a celebration was a solemn and awkward affair. Prince Andrew stepped down from Royal duties the following day.

'Beatrice was sombre and make-up-free for the birthday dinner,' the source said.

'She was probably worried that her mascara would run. She seemed quite tearful at times. In fact, Beatrice has been in tears every day since the interview went out.'

Such is the furore created by the interview, it has been rumoured that Beatrice and Edo might spend the next few months in America.

The Princess already spends much of her time in New York, where she works for Afiniti, a company run by Prince Harry's friend Tom Inskip. 

Of all Prince Andrew’s calamitous errors of judgment, few are as damaging as his decision to pose for a photograph with his arm around Virginia Roberts, the fingers of his left hand skimming the 17-year-old’s bare waist.

Taken at the Belgravia home of Andrew’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell, the photograph has become his millstone. In it, he grins at a camera said to be in the hands of his paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein.

The picture has been reproduced countless times around the world since it was first published by The Mail on Sunday in February 2011 – but until today it has never been shown in its entirety.

The Prince has tried – rather desperately, critics say – to suggest it was somehow faked. 

First unnamed friends cast doubt upon it and then, during his disastrous TV interview, Andrew himself said he didn’t ‘believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested’. 

He also expressed the hope that the original might one day surface, as though this might exonerate him.

In fact, the full, uncropped picture – a copy of the photograph shown to The Mail on Sunday by Miss Roberts – does nothing to advance the Duke’s cause.

Seldom do pictures appear in newspapers without being cropped for compositional reasons, and so it was with this image.

The complete picture reveals further detail of the interior of Ms Maxwell’s house, in particular what appears to be a large post-Impressionist painting hanging on the wall, its bottom corner obscured by a flash of white, possibly one of Epstein’s fingers partially covering the lens.

Leaving technical issues aside, the circumstances surrounding how it was obtained all point to the picture being genuine.

At the time Miss Roberts gave it to The Mail on Sunday, she was living a quiet life with her family on Australia’s Central Coast.

She wasn’t trying to seek any limelight. She had no wish to be found but was traced by this newspaper’s then New York correspondent, Sharon Churcher, who was investigating reports that the FBI was planning to reopen an investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenagers by Epstein. He had previously admitted to soliciting sex from girls as young as 14.

At first Miss Roberts was reluctant to talk, not least because she harboured fears that Epstein, who sexually groomed her from the age of 15 before ‘lending’ her to rich, powerful friends, might try to kill her. After finally agreeing, she served The Mail on Sunday team coffee on the patio adjoining her modest three-bedroom bungalow and produced the picture of Andrew from a white envelope containing a collection of photos chronicling her teenage years and travels with Epstein to New Mexico and Paris.

She explained that the picture with Andrew was taken at Ms Maxwell’s home after a visit to Tramp nightclub – a claim the Duke disputes. ‘All of us went upstairs and I asked Jeffrey to snap a picture of me with the Prince. I wanted something to show my mom,’ she said.

Until this meeting, she had simply not considered the picture’s significance. Some commentators have pointed out that when she gave it to this newspaper, she made no claim of having been sexually trafficked to him – but instead waited another four years.

This is not the case. She told Churcher at the meeting that she had sex with Andrew three times while a teenager, but for legal reasons the MoS could not publish her claims, which the Duke denies.

In his TV interview, Andrew hinted that the hand around her waist may not be his. ‘From the investigations that we’ve done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph,’ he said.

Miss Roberts gave the original to the FBI which, incidentally, has never questioned its veracity.

Deep in conversation with a female friend, Prince Andrew enjoys a party at Tramp nightclub just 72 hours after Virginia Roberts’s claims that she danced with him at the same venue when ‘he was grabbing my hips and… pouring with perspiration’.

On this occasion, March 13, 2001, the Duke was accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. They joined 150 guests celebrating the 40th birthday of racehorse breeder Guy Sangster, the son of racing tycoon Robert Sangster. Andrew was photographed talking to Guy Sangster’s wife Fiona.

Other luminaries at the event included fashion designer Bruce Oldfield and George Mountbatten, the Marquess of Milford Haven.

According to Tatler magazine, which sent a photographer, ‘In true Tramp fashion, the partying continued till 4am’. Whether Andrew stayed to the end is unknown but asked during his BBC interview last week about his ‘party Prince’ reputation, he replied: ‘Well, I think that’s also a bit of a stretch. I don‘t know why I’ve collected that title because I don’t… I never have really partied.’

Although the celebrations were held on March 13, Mr Sangster’s birthday actually fell on Saturday, March 10. Coincidentally, that is the date that Ms Roberts places Andrew at the club. Then aged 17, she alleges that after dancing with him at Tramp, they later had sex at Ghislaine Maxwell’s mews house in Belgravia – the first of three alleged sexual encounters with Andrew. The Prince denies all the allegations.

According to Tatler, dancing was in evidence at the Sangster party ‘although many of the guests’ routines seemed stuck in a time warp’.

When asked during the Newsnight interview whether he remembered dancing at Tramp on March 10, Andrew replied: ‘No, that couldn’t have happened because the date that’s being suggested I was at home with the children.’

Asked how he was so certain of this, the Duke replied: ‘On that particular day that we now understand is the date which is the tenth of March, I was at home, I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of four or five in the afternoon.’

The Duke of York intends to make a grand comeback after clearing his name, The Mail on Sunday has been told.

But sources say that his brazen self-belief, which Palace insiders believe is misplaced, risks putting him on a potential collision course with the Prince of Wales.

Prince Charles was instrumental in effectively sacking his younger brother last week. And while Andrew’s statement said he was stepping back from public duties for the ‘foreseeable future’, it is understood that Charles has every intention of making his expulsion permanent.

In a separate development, it emerged last night that Andrew secretly met his friend Ghislaine Maxwell at Buckingham Palace in early June – just a fortnight after US prosecutors announced that they were reopening their inquiry into the activities of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, their mutual friend.

Ms Maxwell, the daughter of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, has been accused of procuring underage girls for Epstein. She denies the claims.

During his disastrous BBC interview last week, Andrew was asked when he last saw Ms Maxwell. ‘It was earlier this year funnily enough, in the summer, in the spring, summer… She was here doing some rally,’ he replied. The Palace meeting is understood to have taken place the day before Ms Maxwell started a four-day charity motoring rally from London to Monte Carlo. This is thought to be her last visit to the UK.

A Royal source said Andrew believes that he can repair his shattered image simply by speaking to the FBI about the Epstein scandal. That view has raised eyebrows among senior Palace courtiers, who fear he can never regain public trust.

Of Andrew’s planned comeback, a source said: ‘I can’t see that Charles would ever let it happen. And many at the Palace just want him out of the scene now – end of. It’s effectively an early retirement.’

The permanent departure of Andrew would assist Charles’s aim of creating a more streamlined and cost-effective monarchy when he becomes King.

Other Royal families are already tightening their belts. In Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustaf recently removed five of his grandchildren from ‘the firm’.

Andrew is said to be keen for his representatives to make an approach to the FBI and is thought to be discussing the matter with his legal team. ‘The feeling is there is no other way he can clear his name unless the FBI say there are no charges to face,’ the source said.

‘The only way he can do that is to volunteer to talk under oath. He has said that he is innocent of what he is accused of and wants to clear his name.’

And while the Duke has ‘understandably been devastated that it has come to this’, insiders say he is ‘naively positive’ that he can survive the storm.

‘Under the circumstances he was in good spirits,’ said a friend who spoke to him in recent days.

A Palace source added: ‘He stepped back because it proved disruptive with all of the allegations over his friendship but if… that gets resolved, it clears the way. Putting a time-frame on that is a different matter.’

Meanwhile, there is continued confusion surrounding Andrew’s role at Pitch@Palace, the platform for entrepreneurs he founded.

Barclays became the latest firm to withdraw support from the scheme, even though the bank’s sponsorship was not up for renewal for about ten months. While some say Andrew is clinging on to his pet project, others insist he has already been forced to stand aside. Buckingham Palace last night said the Duke ‘will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties’ – but the project must be moved outside of the Palace.

As of last month, there were plans for global expansion but with dwindling sponsors and no Palace to provide the glamour, many doubt the venture will survive for much longer.

Last night, loyal friends were still continuing to come forward to defend the Prince in the media, as they have done many times before. ‘I’ve been in a sauna with him – he has never sweated,’ one said. ‘He doesn’t party. He is not a party person – only drinks water and tea.

‘He goes to bed at 11.30pm and wakes up at 7.30am, seven days a week. If you translate what he said in the interview, he is very sorry.’

Nevertheless, the Duke remains under intense scrutiny. Yesterday it emerged he had stayed at the lavish Caribbean estate of fashion designer Peter Nygard, who was accused of sexually harassing three female employees.

Once dubbed the Canadian Hugh Hefner, Nygard settled the cases out of court weeks before Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah visited his home in the Bahamas. 

A Jeffrey Epstein victim has claimed that he raped her before bragging about his relationship with Prince Andrew, it has emerged, as a former lap-dancer also alleges that the Duke blew a raspberry on her breasts at one of the paedophile's party.

Chauntae Davies, now 40, who worked as Epstein's masseuse and as an air hostess on his private plane, said the billionaire adorned his mansions with pictures of the eighth in line to the throne and his former wife Sarah Ferguson. 

She fell into the paedophile's path when she was a 21-year-old trainee massage therapist in Los Angeles and treated Ghislaine Maxwell at Beverly Hills' Four Seasons Hotel.

Ms Davies alleged to The Sun on Sunday that she was raped by the billionaire on his private island. 

'I was very aware of Jeffrey Epstein's friendship with Prince Andrew and Fergie right away', she said.

'It was one of several bragging tactics he used to further induce his power and privilege. He bragged a lot. He bragged about how he'd lent money to the Duchess.'

She also called on the Prince, who has been forced to retire from public duties after a car-crash BBC interview, to speak to the FBI.

'There is no way you could have been a friend of Jeffrey's and not know what was going on', she said.

'I don't see how you could see somebody with another young girl all the time and there never being a conversation about it. It doesn't add up.' 

Ms Davies has previously stated that she was raped by the billionaire the third or fourth time they met on Caribbean island Little St. James.

Andrew has previously admitted visiting the island and was named as a passenger on Epstein's jet, known as the Lolita Express for its orgies, in August 2001, for a trip from New York to New Mexico.

Prince Andrew has always denied any allegations of wrongdoing during his friendship with Epstein. 

Ms Davies also described how she spent two weeks 'vomiting myself to death' in a hospital after the alleged attack.

'He took me by the wrist. I was searching for words but all I could say was please stop, but that only seemed to excite him more,' she told a New York courtroom the first time that she spoke publicly about the event.

'It took me a long time to come forward. Every public humiliation that I endured, I have suffered, and he has won.' 

It came as a former Epstein employee, who has testified against him under the name 'Tiffany Doe', alleged the Prince had motor-boated her and that at the paedophile's parties girls were selected specifically to appease the Duke.

'The Duke seemed in good spirits and was out to enjoy himself', she told The Sunday Mirror.

'I always thought, Andrew liked my breasts. When he started to say hello he looked at them first rather than me.

'After Andrew motor-boated me he tried to remember what it was meant to be called. He didn’t quite know the term ‘motorboat’. He said, ‘motor… something?’

'He was trying to come off cool, but he didn’t know the words. I found him quite awkward, quite clumsy. He said I should be in a magazine for big-breasted women. It was a normal thing to happen at those parties.'

She also alleged that the girls had to be specially selected for Andrew to be curvy, and that she saw the Prince at parties a 'couple of times a year'.

'I would flirt with him and he would hit on me and was handsy. He would stand in close proximity, looking at my breasts', she said. 

The Queen has scrapped plans to host a party for Prince Andrew to mark his 60th birthday in February.

Instead, the monarch is said to be arranging a small family dinner for the Duke, according to The Sunday Times. His birthday is on February 19.

The news comes just days after the Queen effectively sacked him from his royal duties at the behest of her eldest son in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. 

It has also emerged that Andrew's bungled BBC Newsnight interview was not sanctioned in advance by the Queen.

'The Queen did not give her approval. The fact that notion has somehow been put about has aggrieved people in the [royal] households.

'Andrew had a son-to-mother conversation, letting her know that he was planning to address the controversy, but without going into any details... What should have happened was the full palace process,' a royal source told the Sunday Times.

Meanwhile, royal author Penny Junor said to the paper: 'He's absolutely finished. If Andrew is no longer representing or supporting the monarch in any capacity, or doing good charitably, what's the point of him?' 

The Queen is said to be 'privately supportive' of her second son but also 'deeply frustrated' that the scandal is overshadowing the rest of the family's work. 

The Duke of York, widely reputed to be the favourite of her three sons, has been under scrutiny over his friendship with Epstein for several years.

He is currently preparing to give up all his charity commitments in a sign that he is unlikely ever to resume royal duties.

Now eighth-in-line to the throne, Andrew quit as Britain's roving trade ambassador in 2011 after being lambasted for his links to the financier following Epstein's jailing in 2008 for child sex offences.

Then in 2015, one of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Giuffre, said she was forced to have sex with Andrew in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island between 1999 and 2002, when she says Epstein kept her as a 'sex slave'.

Andrew first meets Epstein, reportedly introduced through his friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell. 

Earlier this week, a senior British lawyer warned that Andrew could be arrested and trapped in America if he jets across the Atlantic to speak to the FBI.

US officials are examining procedures for a formal FBI interview with Andrew in Britain, and a source close to the Duke said he would be 'happy to co-operate'. 

In his BBC interview, Andrew categorically denied the sex claims and gave a series of explanations as to why her account was not true.

He said her account of meeting him sweating and dancing almost two decades ago at a London nightclub before having sex with him could not be true, noting that he suffered from a medical condition that stopped him perspiring.

He also said that on the night he was alleged to have met her he was at home with his family after visiting a Pizza Express restaurant in the commuter town of Woking with his daughter Beatrice.

The explanations provoked derision and ridicule in newspapers and social media.

Prince Andrew's withdrawal from public life over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal means that all 200 of his charities will need to seek new patrons.

The Queen ordered the Duke of York to step down in an attempt to contain the fall-out from his disastrous TV interview about his friendship with the paedophile billionaire.

It comes as ten of the 35 worldwide sponsors of Andrew's beloved Pitch@Palace charity pulled the plug on their support and funding.

After his sacking, palace sources confirmed charities he was affiliated with would no longer receive his patronage.    

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

You may also like