On Saturday night, Prince Andrew – who has been accused of raping Jeffrey Epstein victim, Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts) – gave an interview to Emily Maitlis for BBC Newsnight, against a backdrop of Buckingham Palace. The interview was an attempt to… clear his name, broker some good PR, publicly deny the allegations against him? Whatever his intentions, they didn’t work because Andrew is, in my opinion, trash who can’t show an ounce of remorse for victims of sexual abuse and trafficking.
BBC has released the full interview on YouTube (which is great since the BBC geo-blocks its content), and you can read the full transcript at the Express. It’s not good; Andrew does not come across well here. He comes across as someone trying desperately to justify his own actions because he personally benefitted from his Epstein connection while showing no sympathy for the girls who were abused by Epstein. He didn’t even mention them.
Whatever crisis PR firm Andrew is using that told him this interview was a good idea, and didn’t prep him with canned responses like actually saying something sympathetic to the victims in this case, needs to be fired ASAP. They did him dirty here because this interview was a huge mistake.
Regardless of whether Andrew is guilty of these allegations, or whether he will be found guilty in a court of law, is beside the point when discussing whether he should step down from his public position, in my opinion. These allegations and his relationship with Epstein will follow him for the rest of his life, and will, inevitably, follow the royal family.
Former BBC correspondent Peter Hunt says The Queen agreed to the interview late Monday/Tuesday and gave permission for them to use Buckingham Palace as the setting (although the Palace insiders ran to the Telegraph to claim the Queen didn’t give permission beforehand). The Queen has defended Andrew for years, and had a hand in shutting down these allegations in 2015, and right after Epstein died The Queen rode to church with Andrew – publicly giving him her support. It’s been known for years that Andrew is The Queen’s favorite, and Hunt says he’s one of her “blind spots”. The Queen is obviously incapable of handling Andrew.
I don’t for a second think it’s a coincidence that this interview was given the green light, conducted, and aired while Prince Charles is out of the country on an official tour. If he had been there, could Charles have stopped this? I don’t know. The Queen is still the Queen. But something admirable about Charles is that he truly does play the long game, and I do think he takes the future of the monarchy into consideration when making decisions. It’s to Charles’ benefit that Andrew steps down because Andrew is a stain that will tarnish the royals for years to come (and this stupid interview has overshadowed Charles current tour). And if anyone can force Andrew to step down, it’s Charles. Charles is removed enough from caring for Andrew to make the smart move here.
Even if the Epstein connection isn’t said explicitly whenever someone writes about Andrew, everyone is going to think about it in the back of their minds whenever he is visiting patronages, attending official events, and representing the Crown. Heck, according to the Telegraph, the charity Andrew name-checked in the interview, NSPCC, have already distanced themselves from him, claiming his patronage ended in 2009.
The Queen needs to stop thinking with her heart and start thinking with her mind, and Charles needs to step in and take control here, because Andrew needs to go. The Queen can love on Andrew all she wants in the privacy of her own homes, but she needs to stop supporting Andrew publicly, and stop letting Andrew represent her as a working member of the royal family.
Morally, Andrew should step down from his role as a public official representing Britain and the British Royal Family, because what he is accused of is abhorrent. Go away, clear your name if you can, show remorse, offer sympathy to the women who were abused, and then maybe you’ll be allowed to come back at some point.
But from a public relations perspective, Andrew must step down immediately to save face for the royal family. Their explicit support from The Queen publicly supporting him, and implicit support by refusing to deal with this, will harm their brand moving forward. This story is not going away; Andrew’s actions are only making it worse. Because he’s a royal, the people cannot vote him out of his position, and for these reasons he must step down from his royal duties.