What Prince Andrew Tells us about Britain’s Banana Monarchy

For those of you less than convinced that the Earl of Inverness’s recent interview with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis was a tremendous success, described by some as more of a car-crash than a night out with Prince Philip, let’s cut to the chase. This isn’t just a personal epiphany for the publicly-funded predator it’s a constitutional one too. Let’s not get lost in his own escapades and tottering PR disaster and remember what it means for us  – his subjects.

I had written that we couldn’t be in this state without a pliant media, but to give Maitlis her due, she did a great job, gently allowing Andrew enough rope.

It was, as Suzanne Moore called it, an exercise in “monstrous self-pity and frankly astonishing stupidity”.

The Prince had been advised not to do this interview. Jason Stein had been hired in September to attempt to “revive Andrew’s reputation”, and he quit after his advice was ignored. One palace source said the BBC interview would “go down as one of the single worst PR moves in recent history”.

Stupid, worthless and forgetful. This is what British meritocracy looks like.

There’s too many ghoulish macabre aspects to this man. But one is the gulf between his complete void of empathy about the people he was interacting with and his presentation as a family man cherishing his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie. This is a man who inhabits a binary world with a two-tier view of the female sex. As Marina Hyde has written:

“There is a world for their daughters, hopefully insulated from men like their friend Jeffrey, and then there is another world for the girls who service their friend Jeffrey … And so with the girls in the stories that swirl around Epstein and his circle, they are all daughters, too, your Royal Highness. The Russian masseuse on your feet, the 17-year-old runaway on whose bare hip you have your hand in that fateful picture in London, the terrified 14-year-old who ran screaming from your great friend’s house in her underwear, who you must have read about at the time, because I did, and I didn’t even know the guy. And all the others. They are each someone’s daughter, or they were once. They all once played at princesses and castles and imagined their own fairytale weddings.”

The fairytale may be ending for the Royal family too, not just for Andrew. After the scandals and disaster of Charles and Diana’s marriage and its aftermath a PR reboot was attempted by a seemingly endless spree of jubilees (2012), weddings (2011, 2018), and babies (2013, 2015, 2018, 2018 again and 2019).  But the William and Harry reboot has flopped in part because the tabloids can’t help themselves, and partly because Meghan Markle continues to suffer abuse and degradation from the British media that no other royal has been forced to endure as the barely-concealed racism spills out.

But the media coverage is contradictory.

While the salacious gossip about the royals and minor royals is an endless dribble into public life, and indeed has been a prime driver of the tabloidisation of the British media in the last thirty years, the wider framing, the meta-framing is really about deference.

This is important – as Gary Younge has written about the media and politics:

“We can and do, of course, make up our own minds. But we don’t make them up out of thin air. The framing is so dominant and pervasive, and reproduced so consistently, omnisciently and persistently, that it ceases to feel like a frame at all.”

This seeming contradiction actually make sense. Porcelain Kate Middleton is to be preferred over Meghan Markle as she herself knows her place, and provided she can be treated like a brood mare she’ll be fine. The wives and mothers get an easy ride along as they comply strictly to a code of silence and duty and conformity, and that’s the message we’ve to take away too.

Prior to Harry and Meghan Markle having a baby the Mail on Sunday’s, Rachel Johnson, wrote that if the couple had children, “the Windsors will thicken their watery, thin blue blood and Spencer pale skin and ginger hair with some rich and exotic DNA”, while the Daily Mail headlined an article with “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton”.

But as the tabloid feeding-frenzy will continue the state broadcaster has other worries. Nicholas Witchell is concerned that this will tarnish the royal family and is worried about the lack of PR control, and conflates Harry’s comments about the blatant racism against his wife with Prince Andrew’s defense of his friendship with convicted trafficers and sex-offenders. He said:

“We had Prince Harry with his rant against the tabloid media which was absolutely against the advice of his communications officials who were in despair over it. We have a similar situation now. The mainstream advisors of the Queen at the Palace were not a part of this Prince Andrew debate.”

If the Royal Correspondent is worried abut the Palace’s PR the Express’s Kate Whitfield sees another downside.

The paper reports:

Prince Andrew’s eldest daughter Princess Beatrice got engaged to property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi this year. The couple had yet to announce a date for the nuptials but said it would take place at some point in 2020. But now, some royal experts are questioning what impact the Duke’s interview could have on his daughter’s big day. Royal expert and author Marlene Koenig tweeted: “Beatrice’s wedding will be collateral damage.” She added: “I will not be surprised if she has a rather quiet wedding, out of the public eye, with a few photos, no live coverage.”

The true tragedy in all this?

As Hyde said:  “They all once played at princesses and castles and imagined their own fairytale weddings.”

But if the Express is more worried about Princess Beatrice’s wedding and the BBC’s Royal Correspondent is more worried about the Palace’s PR, we should be worried about what this tells us about our society and our media and how we can create institutions of democracy that do away with these disgraceful people.

This article was updated to change the line “publicly-funded paedophile” to “publicly-funded predator” on 18 November.










Comments (19)

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  1. Bill says:

    Roll on Bojo for PM, Scotland for independence and then by referring to the Declaration of Arbroath, creating the Republic of Scotland – a secular humanist society that is green and clean


    1. Mark Bevis says:

      Where do I apply for a visa? Will I need a passport?
      PS I know how to grow food and make hedges.
      Not that I want to move, I’m fairly climate catastrophe proof here. Perhaps instead the NW of England can be ‘transferred’ in the same way the Golan Heights was. A semi-autonomous secondary province governed from Edinburgh can’t be as bad as the current wealth-sucking from Westminster that we have to endure!

  2. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    Mike, I had more to do with my time than watch this, for as a Republican I learned a long time ago that ‘big-money’ and especially monarchy have been doing this for hundreds of years that they believe is that any ordinary female/male are there for their sexual gratification/abuse and think that they are untouchable. I also seem to recall that said person was once tagged by the Sun, I think it was, as ‘RANDY ANDY’!!!

  3. w.b. robertson says:

    so wot`s new? Remember the old joke about a royal couple lying in bed…the girl asks “Do the peasants get to do this too? ” And adds ” Too good for them, much too good!”.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      And,there is the old music hall song from the Victorian years:
      “She was poor, but she was honest,
      Victim of a rich man’s wiles….”
      with the chorus:
      “It’s the same the whole world over,
      It’s the poor what gets the blame
      It’s the rich what get’s the pleasure.
      Ain’t it all a bleedin shame.”

  4. Alistair Taylor says:

    Come on, folks.
    Let us have a rousing chorus of “Rule Britannia” and 3 cheers for the Royals.
    Hip, hip, hoorah.

    Jaysus, Jimmy.
    As i chew my porridge in British (hip hip hoorah) Columbia this wet November morning, i wonder where it will all end?
    Who wants to be the next King of Scotland?

  5. Jo says:

    “This isn’t just a personal epiphany for the publicly-funded paedophile….”

    That’s appalling. The paedophile associated with this case is Epstein. To attach such a label to Prince Andrew is out of order.

    I think it’s fine to be a republican but to throw labels like that around at anyone is beyond the pale. It’s the behaviour of tabloids.

    As for using quotes from Suzanne Moore and Marina Hyde to “back up” the case when all they express are their own opinions, ie, not actual facts, what weight do these add? None.

    What we do know about Prince Andrew won’t qualify him for many awards but this piece goes too far considering the absence of facts or knowledge, on our part, as to who is telling the truth.

    We now live in times where any allegation, no matter how damaging or serious, can be made against anyone no matter how long after the alleged event. Immediately, out here, everyone has a view about who is in the right or in the wrong and the media, well, it fills its space with screeds and screeds about it. Meanwhile, in reality, we’re none the wiser. We don’t know.

    “…..we should be worried about what this tells us about our society and our media.”

    Yes indeed, and I’m wondering now what it tells us about Bella.

    1. “As for using quotes from Suzanne Moore and Marina Hyde to “back up” the case when all they express are their own opinions, ie, not actual facts, what weight do these add? None.”

      This is an Opinion piece Jo – citing other commentators views. You seem terminally confused about the difference between news and comment.

      1. Jo says:

        I’m not remotely confused. I’m very clear about the point I made.

        I talked about the importance of facts which, even in opinion pieces, should play a part, especially when you intend to label someone a paedophile.

    2. Joe H says:


      “What we do know about Prince Andrew won’t qualify him for many awards but this piece goes too far considering the absence of facts or knowledge, on our part, as to who is telling the truth”.

      Do you think he was telling the truth in the interview? Seriously? I’m sorry but when someone is clearly lying in an attempt to save his skin – which most neutral observers seem to agree he was – then I’m afraid calling him a liar is fair comment.

      Nothing he said stood up to even the most rudimentary scrutiny, a child could have spun a more convincing tale so woeful were his excuses.

      He doesn’t sweat, or never used to due to a near miss in the Falklands and a subsequent large shot of adrenaline .
      He was at a Pizza restuarant in Woking for a Birthday party and he was babysitting so could not have attended Tramps that night.
      He does not do public shows of affection.
      He always wears a tie in London.
      Him and Epstein were not “Close” friends.

      Come on, I mean come on? He’s not telling the truth ergo he is a liar.

      1. Jo says:

        Joe H

        You didn’t read my post properly otherwise you’d have noted the quote at the beginning of it, from the article, which refers to Prince Andrew as a “publicly funded paedophile”. That is a reckless and irresponsible allegation indeed.

        No, I do not know for certain who is lying here and whether I’m “neutral” or otherwise is irrelevant.

        What I’m increasingly shocked by is this new trend whereby people make serious allegations publicly and, within a short time, everyone is making a judgement without knowing anything. It’s bonkers. The media people appear to love it! I think it’s a ghastly trend and a dangerous one.

        1. Scooby doo says:

          Quite. Paedophiles covet pre-pubescent children:
          But a 17 year old is a consenting adult in almost all legislatures, and this lassie looks very happy in his company: she is positively beaming!
          I think there is a nasty little covert narrative going on here: which is dominated by prudes.
          Sex is normal, healthy and fun.
          The world needs more consensual sex, not less, and the legal age of consent is 16, last I heard.
          But also: what goes on in the bedroom is not of public interest: unless it is the foul Alex Salmond forcing himself on his employees, or Bill Clinton having oral sex with Internees: that is a very different order of problem.

          1. Epstein procured minors for rape by other men.

            Nobody underage can give consent so it’s trafficking & child rape not prostitution.

            Your comment Rob at PaperClip is disgusting, I publish it only to show people your views.

            Jo wanted facts – in 2005, police in Palm Beach, Florida began investigating Epstein after a parent complained that he had sexually abused her 14-year-old daughter.

            Epstein pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2008 by a Florida state court.

          2. Joe H says:

            Scooby, you do realise of course that “lassie” (who “looks very happy in his company, positively beaming) had been trafficked for sex by Epstein?

            Using your deluded logic the the victims of various grooming gangs up and down England – some of whom were also of consenting age – were probably similarly happy at the time because they thought that the groomers were their boyfriends.

            The “smiling, very happy” girl had just met a Prince, she had not yet been abused by him and found out he was in fact a toad.

        2. I think you’re both right – I think my use of words was inaccurate – and I think he was lying.

          I’ll edit the piece and acknowledge the change.

        3. Joe H says:

          If you don’t know he’s lying then I have some magic beans for ssale.

        4. Alasdair Macdonald says:


          I have always agreed with the posts you make – they are nuanced and carefully, but assertively phrased – and, indeed, in your third post in this thread you have clarified your stance and Mr Small has clarified his. However, I was taken aback by the apparent outrage of your initial post.

          While Mr Small has adjusted his language I think the drift of his piece stands up well.

          He has been very tentative and restrained compared to the front page cartoon in the current edition of ‘Private Eye’. This shows the well-known photograph of Prince Andrew (The Earl of Inverness, as I am sure BBC Scotland will begin styling him) with his arm around a young woman’s naked midriff. The speech bubble from his mouth says, “Please be careful with me I’ve just had a child.”

          I have to admit to a sharp intake of breath when I saw the cover. I certainly do not find it in any way funny, but it is making a point pretty crudely but unambiguously. These public school ‘chaps’ know how to be mercilessly cruel.

  6. Daniel Raphael says:

    Superb as usual. Sent to as many as I could fit into my tweet. Please continue.

  7. SleepingDog says:

    This is symptomatic of the British nepotocracy that concentrates and centralized power in an unaccountable hierarchy protected by vast state and private forces. I think the question of deference is critical, in the sense that it reduces the frequency of very obvious questions about the behaviour of members of the elite, and of its reasons for existence, which are largely (I think) the functions of secrecy and unaccountability required to run the modern version of the British empire. Corrupting functions which allow the behaviour rightly condemned here.

    Far too many of her subjects give the Queen a free pass, when she has been responsible for some heinous crimes often carried out through the Privy Council. The Guardian seems to have been fairly well cowed or muzzled, and some of the big stories are broken by other newspapers now. The Sunday Times (and BBC Panorama) seem to have broken a story of the cover-up of child murders and detainee tortures by British soldiers, whose head (she that they swear an oath of allegiance and obedience to) is the Queen. Yet the Queen is never held accountable to the Armed Forces (whose senior officers she may appoint), is never put in the dock to answer questions under oath, is never asked to stand down and be replaced by someone that the public might have more confidence in to investigate and end these crimes and the culture of impunity they are committed under.

    The other aspect of the Epstein-Andrew story is how the British Royals have been threatening reporters around the world, which in itself could become one of the next big stories. The official secrecy surrounding the royal family is itself secret and should be dragged out into the sunlight so that people will at last be able to ask the right questions, and presumably accelerate the end of this foul institution.

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