Coffee House

The politics of Prince Andrew

7 March 2011

Uh-oh, the Prime Minster has "full confidence" in Prince Andrew as a UK trade envoy – the sort of endorsement that often means the direct opposite. In this
case, though, I suspect that the line is more a hasty attempt to defuse some of the tension that has been building on this matter over the past few days. Only this morning, a Downing Street source
told the Beeb that the Prince could be ejected from the role should any more revelations surface. Another suggested that "there won’t be many tears shed if he resigns."
And then there’s the senior Tory putting it about that "there appears to be no discernible mental activity," on Prince Andrew’s part. It has been – and continues to be – a
right royal rumpus, to say the least.

It’s worth noting that Prince Andrew has been here, or somewhere like it, before. When he met a member Gaddafi’s government last year – with the al-Megrahi handover still raw and screaming in
the public consciousness – an insider described the timing as "crass in the extreme". And that’s before the Wikileaks controversy last November. The question now is whether all of this negative publicity has become overwhelming for the Prince and the
government, or whether they will ride over the storm once again. Whatever happens, you can expect Downing Street to go about it much more subtly from now on.

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Show comments
  • Mr Commonsense

    When can we expect HRH to visit Wigan and help promote Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls to the rich and affluent international business folk who will easily see the potential in this fine unique Lancashire made product.

  • justathought

    Sir Ivor Roberts, former Ambassador to Italy, Yugoslavia and Ireland said that the Duke was rude and offensive when speaking to foreign dignitaries.

    Simon Wilson Britain’s Deputy Head of Mission in Bahrain 2001 also described the Duke as boorish and rude, frequently refusing to follow his brief and then doing the opposite to what had been agreed in pre-visit meetings.

    Tatiana Gfoeller, Washington Ambassador to Kyrgyastan was revealed in wikileak to have reported back to washington her view that the Duke was verging on being rude to officials. Later wikileaks also revealed how Ambassador Gfoeller reported how the Duke called the SFO idiots for investigating claims of bribery concerning arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

    The Duchess has spoken out in his defense that the Duke had no knowledge that she was negotiating to sell access to the Duke for £500k. She is also mortified that she accepted £15k from someone who she was introduced to without her knowing that he was a convicted pedophile explaining in todays ES that the payment was given to her through the Duke’s office.

    People just don’ appreciate how much air-miles andy has selflessly given to the nation. The £4m in travel expenses and 19 trips abroad in the last year show his dedication. Nor should he be bound by any tiresome code of conduct as this would hinder his relationships and contacts with tyrants ,regimes and other low life that one must do business with for one’s nation.

  • Verity

    Austin Barry, re your school ma’army comment, no. Paedophiles aren’t attractive characters. We weren’t discussing paedophiles. We were discussing people who live on their wits and charm IN GENERAL.

  • oldtimer

    Of course the headlines about the DoY have been a useful distraction from other little local difficulties that have recently afflicted the DimLibs, the Conservatives and the Coalition. How convenient. That said, I do not think he is the great asset some big him up to be. His sister is a much more convincing ambassador for the causes she supports.

  • Austin Barry

    Is a convicted paedophile really an attractively louche character? Surely not.

  • Publius

    Agreed with P from M, Strapword and Verity.

    This is just more of the steady drip, drip, drip undermining of the institutions of the state. It suits the Left, and it suits the EU.

    When all the old institutions have been discredited enough, they will then move to abolish them and no one will complain.

    House of Lords? No thanks, rather the Eurocrats.

    Royal Family. No thanks. Rather Rumpy-Pumpy and Cathy Ashton.

    British Government? No thanks. Rather Berlin and Brussels.

  • dorothy wilson

    les: And could that be why Labour is feeding this frenzy?

    One of those who is in the fore-front of stirring this up is Chris Byrant. Now didn’t he think it acceptable to pose on the web in his underpants?

    And it was people like him who drove the hunting ban through. Now they are doing the hunting but don’t seem to have the self-knowledge [or brains] to look in the mirror and evaluate their own behaviour.

  • strapworld

    Peter from Maidstone is right.

    Just a thought, It would suit the EUSSR greatly if our Royal family were to be discredited. They would much prefer we did not have such a body.

    Also Verity is so right. We have all met rogues and vagabonds in ours lives, except I suppose Trevors Den, and Occasional Ostrich has a valid point, generally they are so much more fun.

    What I find absolutely hilarious is those in The Street of Shame who are penning much of this nonsense. If the truth was written about them, now that would be interesting.

  • Vulture

    What has to be borne in mind is that the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas are much the most stupid family to have ever sat on the British throne.

    From George I onwards, it has been an unrelieved story of utter idiocy: a dynasty whose pea-sized brains are only matched by their incontinent libidos.

    Is it just a coincidence, btw, that David Cameron is descended from William IV via one of ‘silly Billy’s’ little bastards?

    Anyhow, centuries of inbreeding has finally produced Randy Andy, a man whose taste and judgement can be explained by the fact that he married Fergie and built South York.

    At least the Queen keeps her mouth shut and does her job. Her male offspring should be left on the stud farm.

  • Verity

    Lescam writes: “Who wouldn’t enjoy an (unpaid) job that consists of constant free travel around the world, with an entourage, travelling first class and staying at 5 star hotels, all at the taxpayers’ expense.”


    Unlike ex-Speaker Labourite Gorbals Mick, Prince Andrew has never known anything but first class travel, or travel on private jets, and lavish parties, being in a milieu of mega money, and deference.

    It’s not a thrilling treat to him. It’s all he knows.

  • Occasional Ostrich

    Verity, aren’t the louche characters so much more FUN?

  • alexsandr

    Tony@March 7th, 2011 3:37pm

    That will be 47p in the current market then….

  • lescam

    “….the Prime Minster has “full confidence” in Prince Andrew as a UK trade envoy “

    In that case, he (Andrew) should start to tidy his desk. “Full confidence” usually means “with a bit of luck the b*****d will resign and save us a lot of bother”.

    I’m sure Andrew will not go willingly. Who wouldn’t enjoy an (unpaid) job that consists of constant free travel around the world, with an entourage, travelling first class and staying at 5 star hotels, all at the taxpayers’ expense. Nice for some. Has he actually achieved anything, other than put people’s backs up with his rudeness and arrogance? Much as I admire the Queen and am most definitely a monarchist, Andrew is dragging the royal family down and should be removed from the public eye immediately.

  • Maggie

    I’m beginning to understand why Andy Coulson was so valued at No. 10. Their press office is now clearly run by morons.

  • Verity

    Well said, Peter from M! I endorse every word. This is a manufactured storm in a teacup. Of course Prince Andrew knows some louche characters. So do I. There are a lot of them around – and even more of them circling around the prominent and wealthy.

  • Waverider


    Perhaps they hadn’t been told Khadzafi is nowhere near Benghazi?

  • Tony

    In the interests of promoting British trade to foreign markets, I for one am willing to volunteer to sell my house to a Kazakh billionaire for five times its projected market value.

  • 2trueblue

    Oh, the fun they are having at the beeb. What is it with our national tv that we have to suffer gossip from unnamed sources. Our national tv is a disgrace.

    The BBC has just been suggesting that the SAS mission to Lybia was to assinate Gaddafi. What possible evidence do they have?

  • AF

    Any relaxing of attitudes towards the Gaddafi government would be a direct result of Tony Bliar over playing his hand in the “deal in the dessert”.That goes for uni’s and business alike.
    Having said that the duke ain’t without his own baggage.

  • les

    Looks like all the interest in Gaddafi’s friendships with Blair, Mandleson, Brown etc have been swept away by this!

    I actually hate the way the media is behaving, as far as I can tell the Coalition is not getting a chance to breathe let alone govern with the hysterics surrounding everything it does – there is now another legal challenge regarding housing benefit.
    governments govern, the opposition appose – end of – this has got to stop!

  • Peter From Maidstone

    So a senior Tory coward likes to smear people behind their back and from the safety of anonymity. Why is that reported? Why not let us know who this senior Tory is and WE will decide if we can see any discernable mental activity!

    Cowards the lot of them. Nothing is worse than someone willing to make comments like this ‘off the record’. I loath and despise them all and I wish that they would resign. I have a great deal more confidence that Prince Andrew puts England’s business first than most of our politicians. I have no interest in the knowledge that someone found him rude, and another diplomat that no-one has heard of doubted he should be in ths position he is. If there is a desire to pick at the British relationship with Libya then it should start and end with Tony Blair and his government’s activities, not Prince Andrew.

  • Austin Barry

    I rather suspect that the Prince will be discreetly taken aside by an equerry this week and provided with some piece of information which will make him resign immediately from his GB-sales guy role. Relief all round for HMG.

  • TomTom

    Ah the Not-So Grand Duke of York who behaves like an Exiled Ruritanian Prince Playboy. Are there any millionaires, billionaires, he doesn’t know ? Are there any wealthy women he hasn’t bedded ? It is all so tawdry but it looks like the Edward VIII genes are flowing freely as playboy princes play the Hollywood celeb game.

    Bad timing when his nephew was being lined up to rejuvenate the old Monarchy – what with Royal Family offshoots in Downing Street it was getting quite like old times. Now it looks too much like old times and as the voting public get very cheesed off with champagne for some and water for others, Prince Andrew might like to look overseas for future gainful employment. He is an embarrassment and how he runs up £4 million a year as a travelling salesman on expenses defies sensible audit

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