Shocking new details have come to light which show the lengths the Queen was willing to go to shield her favorite son Prince Andrew.
One of the details about Prince Andrew that gets most regularly hauled out and repeated is that he is the Queen’s favorite child.
‘Huh?’ the public says. ‘HIM? The scandal permanently-prone gammon of a royal who has cost his mother millions of pounds and who has done so much for the Republican cause?’
The reason lies in when he was born. When Her Majesty had son Prince Charles a year after marrying Prince Philip she was 22-years-old and then when she promptly produced Princess Anne two years later she was only 24. She was still very young and in love and often left the tots at home with her own mother while she followed her dishy naval captain of a husband about the place.
Then in 1952, her beloved father passed away, shunting her onto the throne decades before anyone had thought that would happen, meaning the demands of State and the Commonwealth trumped teatime frolics in the nursery.
However, the Queen wanted more children and the arrival of Prince Andrew in early 1960 was unlike that of any of her other children with her, for the first time, prioritizing this whole motherhood caper. (She even thing to skip the opening of parliament during her pregnancy for the first time which is telling.)
So you have to keep all of that in mind to understand why the 95-year-old sovereign would risk her reputation, legacy, and the future viability of the monarchy to give her excommunicated son a boost last week by letting him escort her to her seat in Westminster Abbey in a striking, and shocking, show of support.
Now, a new report has revealed the lengths that Buckingham Palace tried to go to prevent the press from showing the world what was going on inside the 1000-year-old church.
Translation: Even more damn proof of the lengths that the Queen will go to, to try and protect her son, even at the expense of the royal house’s reputation.
See, on occasions such as last week’s service of thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, something called the royal rota comes into effect.
When it came to photography close to where the royal family sat, each news outlet nominates one person and then one name is picked at random by an independent body. So it was that the Times’ Richard Pohle was chosen for the Abbey service.
As he writes in the paper, “There I was, dressed in my one and only suit, the only photographer given the opportunity to record a prominent moment in the royal family’s history.”
However, things got off to a very rocky start.
“This event started in a high state of panic: I had just been told by a Buckingham Palace press officer that I could not photograph the arrival of the Queen into Westminster Abbey,” Pohle writes. “Only once she was seated, they said. Naturally, I baulked at the order.”
(Keep in mind here, this was not about preserving the dignity of Her Majesty who has started using a walking stick in public and for whom her mobility is an increasingly serious issue. As Pohle points out, the service was being broadcast live by the BBC .)
“I was with two smiling and pleasant press officers from Buckingham Palace, both of whom I had worked with before. They told me I would not be able to photograph the entrance of the Queen until, basically, they said I could,” the experienced snapper wrote.
“The palace officials stood firm, no pictures until she was seated. And that’s when the news filtered through to us: the Queen would be escorted to her seat by the Duke of York. This changed everything.
“’I absolutely need to photograph this,’ I said. The arrival of the Queen was now the major news event. I could see them wavering but they repeated that the no picture order ‘came from the top’ and that ‘it wasn’t up to them.’”
Long story short, the aides finally relented and Pohle got the shot, albeit with some fancy footwork.
But that’s not the point. What is, is this scene inside between Pohle and royal flunkies not so much speaks volumes as screams that Buckingham Palace knew what a colossal misstep it was for the Queen to give her tainted son such a starring role in proceedings and yet he was still allowed to do so.
Not only that but, when faced with this fresh furore of Andrew’s alleged making, they tried to basically throw their regal weight around and cover things up, that is, to try and bar Pohle for shooting the moment.
I am honestly so tired of this. So tired of writing about how again and again and again the Queen has stepped in to insulate Andrew from the repercussions of his own ego and hubris and horrendous choices.
At every bloody turn since convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in July 2019 and when the Prince and the paedophile’s friendship was shoved back into the spotlight, even after Epstein’s death, the Duke’s catastrophic TV interview and him being sued for a civil sex abuse case , his mother has stepped in to try and shield him from the fallout.
Consider that in 2019, in the days after Epstein was detained on sex trafficking charges, Andrew was allowed to get on with things and to attend diplomatic luncheons, visit the Yorkshire show, attended two race meetings, attended the cricket world cup final and put in an appearance as the Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.
The following month, in August 2019, when the financier died by suicide in a New York jail, the monarch sat him beside her in the back seat of her regal Bentley for a trip to church in a jarring show of support.
Three months later, on the morning after the BBC aired Andrew’s hour-long TV interview, an outing so grotesquely bereft of empathy he was later forced to resign as a working royal, where was the Queen? Why, she was taking Andrew to church. Again.
Where he reportedly told how smashingly the whole thing had gone. (Why, for the love of all that is pinstriped, hadn’t any of her brokers or aides cottoned on to the disaster that had just been unleashed and briefed her?)
That same week, two days after his resignation from royal duties, the Queen very blatantly let photographers shoot her out riding in Windsor with Andrew.
Even last year, after Virginia Giuffre, nee Roberts, filed a civil case accusing the royal of sexually assaulting her on three occasions, (Andrew has always vehemently denied the allegations) Her Majesty was still readily protecting him.
It was to her Balmoral estate he fled to dodge process servers and it was she who reportedly bankrolled his multimillion-dollar defence.
Come February this year, when news broke that Andrew had reached a settlement with Ms Giuffre, which has been put at more than $21 million, guess who reportedly helped foot the bill? You got it – the same woman who literally has her own money.
OK, so while we, the public, might view him with lip-curling contempt, he is still his child. The issue here is not the Queen’s incredible devotion to her son or this poignant, ongoing lesson about the tungsten-like strength of maternal love.
It is that the Queen is so readily willing to use the weight and sway of her position to Andrew’s advantage.
In 2011, when that horribly iconic photo of Andrew and Epstein strolling in Central Park was published – when the public outrage was such – he was forced to quit as the British trade ambassador. Her Majesty responded by getting him to Windsor Castle and investing him with Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, quick sticks.
In January this year, the Duke of York was stripped of his remaining military roles and patronages due to Ms Giuffre’s civil sex abuse case, only for it to be reported that his Mummy had “allowed him” to keep his Vice-Admiral title to “ cheer him up,” according to Tea Mirror. (The palace has not denied the report.)
And last week, as Her Majesty prepared to return to public life after five months, who did she allow to take center stage? Him.
At every turn, when the Queen steps in to try and cushion various blows for Andrew, it only reinforces the perception the house of Windsor is a horribly insular bunch who will go to any length to look after one of their own, the public be damned .
That sort of tunnel vision might have passed muster back when various king Henrys were galloping about the place, acquiring wives willy nilly and trying to keep the pesky French at bay, but in contemporary society, a monarch can only rule with the ongoing, passive consent of the people.
There is an unspoken pact between Queen and the hoi polloi, an understanding that she only gets to continue to occupy such an elevated position with the acquiescence of her subjects.
Subjects, that is, whose feelings about her son she now blithely ignores with galling, teeth-grinding regularity.
The Queen has repeatedly spoken about her service to her people and duty but it’s time to give this line a permanent rest. We know who Her Majesty will pick in the moment when she has to pick between her son and her subjects. And luckily for us, and thanks to Richard Pohle, we have photos to back it all up.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.