This Disgraced Member of the Royal Family is a "Virtual Recluse," Say Reports
Almost overnight, an outcast.
The British Royal Family has experienced no shortage of scandals over the past few decades, but the controversy over Prince Andrew's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein is probably the most consequential since the Charles-Diana split. Allegations that Andrew sexually abused a young woman in Epstein's dubious employ forced Andrew to "step back" from active royal duties and his mother, Queen Elizabeth, to strip him of his patronages and military titles.
Andrew was tainted by a photo taken of him with a young Virginia Giuffre, who claimed he sexually assaulted her at age 17. In a disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight, Andrew appeared to suggest the photo was fake. He was forced to forfeit his royal duties a few weeks later; earlier this year, he settled a civil suit filed by Giuffre in the U.S. (Prince Andrew settled with Giuffre in the sexual abuse lawsuit.)
And the fallout continues. Andrew's prominence at his mother's funeral last month reportedly rankled Prince William, and without a royal remit or much else to do, Andrew has become a virtual recluse inside his home, the Telegraph reports. Here's what the news outlet says his life looks like now and what it may be going forward.
Citing allies of Prince Andrew, the Telegraph says he is "sanguine" after three years of "intense self-reflection." While it's unclear if he's undergone psychotherapy, his friends say he's been scrutinizing every aspect of his life to understand how it came to this.
"He has a much better understanding of the challenges he faces than at any other point in his life," the Telegraph reports. "He has a better sense of perspective—partly because he's had these three years to reflect—to do the work, and to focus on his immediate family. The Duke of York of today is much more thoughtful and more mindful than he has ever been."
Andrew's banishment was hastened by a public-relations disaster of an interview he did with BBC Newsnight in November 2019, three months after Epstein died in prison. He seemed uncaring about Epstein's victims—saying he was proud to know the "useful" financier—and was ridiculed for making bizarre arguments why he was innocent of sexually assaulting Giuffre.
Namely, Andrew rebutted Giuffre's account that he sweated copiously on her by claiming he had a medical condition that prevented him from sweating. He also said Giuffre was lying about them having sex at a certain date and time because he was at a Pizza Express restaurant.
Days later, Buckingham Palace announced that Andrew was stepping back from public duties "for the foreseeable future." Queen Elizabeth was involved in the decision. The Palace saw it necessary to insist that Andrew was sympathetic to Epstein's victims. A week later, it was announced Andrew would "stand back" from all 230 of his patronages.
He said he hoped to have a public role in the future. "But having spent three years castigated as what one friend describes as 'the archetypal pantomime villain,' with little hope of royal redemption, he has had no choice but to rethink his future," the Telegraph reports.
It's a full stop: King Charles and Prince William don't see a future for Andrew as an active working member of the royal family. They were the ones that encouraged Queen Elizabeth to strip her son of his military affiliations and royal patronages, as well as use of the "His Royal Highness" title, the Telegraph reports.
"A proposal has been put to the Duke that would see him live out the rest of his years doing something that would give him personal fulfilment, as well as being impactful and resonant," the news outlet says. "It would provide a path that his family and probably even the public would accept—if only he could let go of the foolish hope of things going back to the way they were."
Since the infamous Newsnight interview, Andrew has "been in his own form of lockdown for the past three years," a source told the Telegraph. He lives with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 30-room home in Windsor Great Park. But, the news outlet says, Andrew is now a "virtual recluse, only venturing out to go horse-riding on the Windsor estate twice a week, or for the occasional swim." Before his mother's death, he visited her almost every day.
Occasionally he's spotted walking his dogs—which include two of his late mother's Corgis, but an observer told the Telegraph, "These days, he barely goes out at all. He rarely goes out socially in the evening – where would he go? The only times he used to go out were to visit the Queen at the castle and now he can't even do that." "He had a genuinely amazing relationship with his mother," another source said. "He's bereft right now."