The ride was as short as it was uncomfortable for Britain’s Prince Andrew. In his royal Land Rover, the prince covered the three miles that separates his residence from Windsor Castle, his mother’s home. The Queen had summoned him for a spirited audience.

Andrew was accompanied in his car by his lawyer Gary Bloxsome, who has been dubbed Good News Gary by the British media, because counsel is merely portraying the best-case scenarios in the scandals the Prince is embroiled in. Within the walls of Windsor Castle, Andrew heard news that even Good News Gary could no longer give a positive spin.

Prince Andrew had always been the apple of his mother’s eye, but this time even the Queen had run out of patience. Andrew loses all his military titles. He can no longer call himself His Royal Highness. His role as patron of various charities is coming to an end. Prince Andrew’s public office is now finally finished.

Especially the loss of his military titles must hurt him. Prince Andrew fought in the Falklands War and returned to the UK in 1982 a hero. In a career that would last 22 years, he stringed together military titles. He would eventually rise to Vice Admiral of the Royal Navy. Later, the Queen appointed him Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, one of the most prestigious honorary titles in the armed forces.

Earlier in the week, 150 British veterans had sent an outraged open letter to the Queen. They could not understand why Prince Andrew was still a member of the armed forces.

In their eyes, he had tarnished its reputation because the prince is involved in a civil suit brought by Virginia Giuffre. The 38-year-old American has accused the prince of raping her several times in 2001. Giuffre was then seventeen years old.

According to the veterans, Andrew’s position had become untenable. “Had this been another officer in the armed forces, it would have been inconceivable that he could keep his position.” It was a signal that the Queen could no longer ignore.

How did it come to this? For a long time, the British considered Prince Andrew the darling of the royals. After his glittering military career, the government appointed him a special trade envoy to promote the UK’s business interests. In that role, he flew all over the world and shook hands with world leaders, celebrities and captains of industry. It earned him the nickname ‘Air Miles Andy’.

This is how he came into contact with the wealthy investor Jeffrey Epstein and his British girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. As full members of the international “glitzocracy”, the pair effortlessly blended into the circles of the super rich and famous. The prince became close friends with them. Andrew attended Epstein and Maxwell’s parties and regularly stayed with the couple. In turn, the Prince invited Epstein and Maxwell to sleepovers at the Queen’s castles.

sex parties

Epstein was notorious for having sex parties with underage girls. He was first caught in 2005 and three years later was convicted of provoking sex with a 14-year-old girl. He was initially released with a lenient prison sentence, which he was allowed to serve largely under house arrest. Prince Andrew would remain friends with Epstein and Maxwell after that conviction.

After new revelations, the financier was arrested again in 2019. Epstein did not wait for the outcome of the trial and committed suicide in his cell. The American justice then turned the arrows on Maxwell. She was charged with, among other things, recruiting underage girls for Epstein. Maxwell was found guilty by a US court jury a few weeks ago.

It was at Maxwell’s London home that Prince Andrew met Virginia Giuffre. A photo from 2001 shows Prince Andrew, 41, having his arm around 17-year-old Giuffre. According to the American, it was the house where the prince abused her for the first time. In TV interviews, she said that as a sex slave by Epstein, she was ordered to share the bed with Prince Andrew. Later that year, Andrew would rape her twice more, Giuffre said.

beginning of the end

Giuffre’s accusations would herald the beginning of the end for the prince. Andrew tried every possible way to stop Giuffre’s civil suit, but in vain. A US judge ruled earlier this week that the lawsuit could go ahead.

It was the last straw for the Queen. A day after the judge’s ruling, she decided to strip her son of his titles. The queen clearly does not want to wait for the trial, with possibly even more painful revelations. Reputation is sacred to The Firm, as the British call their royal family. The Queen, stunned by the PR drama called Prince Andrew, now wants to limit the reputation damage as much as possible.

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