The Royal Family is facing yet another potential Annus Horribilis after what were mere accusations against Prince Andrew escalated into a lawsuit. As the BBC reported last weekend, “Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an alleged victim of super-rich sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has begun a civil legal action against the Duke of York, Prince Andrew”.
Do go on. “In court papers she claims the duke abused her three times - at Ghislaine Maxwell's London home, at Epstein's Manhattan home and at the financier's private Caribbean retreat in the US Virgin Islands, claims which he has consistently denied”. No sweat, eh Andy? But why now? “In 2019, New York State changed its law to allow alleged survivors of historical abuse to seek redress many years after an incident”.
He claims he never met her. But the two were snapped together, with Ghislaine Maxwell looking on approvingly. So with Andrew joining Her Maj at Balmoral recently, the stage was set for our free and fearless press to have a field day. The Daily Beast disagreed: “British media organizations hoping to snap a picture of a disgraced Prince Andrew holidaying at his mother’s private Scottish residence have been warned off by Queen Elizabeth”.
Warned off how, exactly? “Lawyers acting for Queen Elizabeth wrote to major British newspapers warning them against taking or publishing pictures of the royals at Balmoral the same day that Prince Andrew arrived there”. So no snaps, and the very strong hint that The Firm would prefer the assembled hacks and pundits to look somewhere else.
What to do? Ah well. Following the developing débâcle in Afghanistan, that problem was soon solved. The Archewell Foundation - that’s the Sussexes - duly put out this statement: “we hope to do what we can to meet the moment by offering support to the military community and the troops who served in Afghanistan, as well as to the Afghan people facing violence and terror. We are also supporting the emergency response in Haiti”.
A number of links were included for those charitably inclined. Harry, as a former soldier whose service included the Afghan campaign, would have been expected to say something about what was going on in the country. And his wife would, in turn, have been expected to have said something about the earthquake in Haiti and its aftermath.
But the press pack was already sharpening its cudgels, and then, as the Guardian has reported, when news came that “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex believe the royal family did not take accountability for the concerns raised in their Oprah Winfrey interview, an unauthorised biography of the couple has claimed”, all hell duly broke loose.
Our fault again, is it? Whatever
Andrew? Andrew who? It was Haz and Megs Wot Done It! “Sulking Sussexes” thundered the Daily Mail. The ratings wannabes at Gammon Broadcasting™ News (“Bacon’s News Channel”), with former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage in the vanguard, denounced the Sussexes. So did self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Dooda. So did anyone who claims to be a “Royal Reporter”.
And so it was that Prince Andrew’s allegedly seriously wayward behaviour, and the failings of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, were miraculously absolved.
Why call out the press for its uselessness? They do the job so much better themselves.
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