Prince Andrew finally broke his silence on his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, giving an interview to the BBC that has been widely described as a “car crash.” You’d think that would be all the bad Prince Andrew news we’d get this weekend, but no — new reports have surfaced that Andrew used a racist slur in addition to that disastrous interview on Epstein.
Here’s what we know about the Duke of York’s comments.
The report of Andrew’s racist language comes to us courtesy of Rohan Silva, a former aide to David Cameron. Silva wrote a piece for the Evening Standard recounting two afternoons spent with Andrew at Buckingham Palace in 2011 and 2012. Silva says he felt compelled to come forward with this information after watching Andrew’s Newsnight interview on Epstein, explaining that “if we don’t call these things out, and dare to speak truth to power, nothing will ever change.”
Since the publication of Silva’s piece, the Palace has denied that Andrew used this language. Here are the comments Silva reported: First, in 2011, Andrew allegedly told Silva, “What you have got to remember is that you’ll never get anywhere by playing the white man.” Then, in 2012, Andrew allegedly responded to a question about the trade department like this: “Well, if you’ll pardon the expression, that really is the n***** in the woodpile.”
While Silva recalls some positive outcomes from these meetings, he says he “kicked [himself] for not confronting the prince on his choice of words,” adding, “It’s something I still regret today.” Between this latest revelation and Andrew’s comments on Newsnight, many are wondering what’s next for the royal, and if there will be any consequences.
One of the weird things about ever-worsening Prince Andrew situation is that, because he is a royal, it doesn’t follow the usual patterns of multiple PR disasters back-to-back. By now, normally, you’d be prepping political obits and calling round charities to see who is jumping ship
— Jess Brammar (@jessbrammar) November 18, 2019
As for the interview itself: Andrew is known to have had a longstanding friendship with late financier Epstein, and faces allegations of sexual assault from Virginia Giuffre, one of the underage women Epstein is believed to have “recruited” as a “sex slave.” Giuffre claims that Andrew plied her with vodka at age 17 and had sex with her multiple times. (The Palace and Andrew himself have repeatedly denied these claims.)
Of the many outrageous comments Andrew made in his BBC interview, two have stood out. First, in response to being presented with the famous photograph of Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Giuffre, the Duke of York said this: “I have absolutely no memory of that photograph ever being taken. It’s a photograph of a photograph of a photograph. Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored…Public displays of affection are not something that, that I do. So, that’s the best explanation I can give you.”
Then, in response to whether he regrets his friendship with Epstein: Andrew said no, “for the reason being that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn, either by him or because of him, were actually very useful.”
Here’s the interview in full.
When it comes to the next steps for the royal, lawyer Lisa Bloom told the BBC that she believes Andrew has “made things worse for himself” by giving that interview. “I think it’s more likely the authorities are going to want to speak to him now,” she adds. “And they should want to.”
But among many outraged by the latest revelations about Prince Andrew, one observer is taking his side: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Andrew’s own ex-wife. In an Instagram post from November 16, Ferguson passionately defended Andrew, calling him “a true and real gentleman” who is “stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness.”
“I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, that dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honor and truth,” Ferguson writes.
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It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs. Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness of always seeing the best in people. I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, that dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth. For so many years he has gone about his duties for Great Britain and The Monarch. It is time for Andrew to stand firm now, and that he has, and I am with him every step of the way and that is my honour. We have always walked tall and strong, he for me and me for him. We are the best examples of joint parenting, with both our girls and I go back to my three C’s .. Communicate Compromise Compassion @hrhthedukeofyork
For now, Andrew is standing by his BBC interview and denying claims of racist language along with the Palace. But as outrage mounts over Andrew’s failure to express remorse for Epstein’s actions and his victims, the world is waiting to see whether the Palace will enact real consequences — or continue to protect him as one of their own.