As the controversy surrounding Prince Andrew’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein continues, the royal family are at the centre of the scandal.
Prince Andrew’s disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight where he denied Epstein’s accuser Virginia Robert’s claim that she had a sexual encounter with the royal at age 17, has forced the prince to quit his royal duties in disgrace.
The interview has brought a whirlwind of negative coverage to the royal family, prompted companies to cut ties to the prince’s charities and rekindled calls for the prince to testify to the FBI about his former friend Epstein. It has also presented the royal family with a massive PR problem. How do they handle Prince Andrew, Britain’s trade ambassador and fourth in line to the throne?
The royal family have a tendency to ignore problems before it’s too late and they blow up into a major scandal. If we look back to the scandal with the abdication of King Edward, the various affairs of Princess Margaret and the death of princess Diana, all were mis-handled. The queen was slow to acknowledge the public grief over Diana’s death which affected her image and this time around, the scandal can’t be ignored.
BBC journalist Emily Maitlis’ relentless grilling of the prince was supposed to do the opposite of what it did. It was supposed to be an opportunity to put to bed the accusations against the prince but instead has triggered a full blown royal crisis.
Viewers were shocked and disgusted at his lack of sympathy for Epstein’s victims as well as his odd assertions such as that he had been medically unable to perspire during his stint during the Falklands War.
In May 2006 an arrest warrant was made for Epstein, In July the prince invited him to his daughters’ birthday at Windsor castle. Then in 2010, after Epstein was released from prison, the prince was photographed with him in Central Park in New York. In May 2006, the palace should’ve stepped in, but nothing happened.
The royal family knew of Prince Andrew’s friendship with Epstein before he was accused and convicted. They knew the facts years before the public did yet Prince Andrew only resigned four days after the BBC Newsnight interview aired.
The reputation of the monarchy has been upended by the most recent series of events.
Prince Andrew is not charged with any wrongdoing but with the BBC airing an interview with Giuffre on December 2nd, this will no doubt add fuel the fire.
Prince Andrew’s shady performance in the BBC interview has triggered a full blown Royal crisis and although he has agreed to help US authorities with their investigation, there can’t be much confidence in his ability to handle an interview with FBI agents or trained lawyers.
The royal family’s image has been tainted and the decision to remove him from public duties was abrupt, yet buys time for the palace to try and rehabilitate his image.
By Shauna Power