LONDON | “favorite Son” of queen Elizabeth II, prince Andrew has long been a figure of a playboy and the military brave, but his life has also been marred by controversies, until his disgrace due to his links with Jeffrey Epstein.
Once seen as a hero of the Falklands war (1982), in which he fought for 22 years as a helicopter pilot, the duke of York, 60 years old, has already seen its reputation very compromised and may now be facing a new unpacking of revelations and accusations.
Questioned for his friendship with the late american financial, Andrew experienced over the past several months of low profile. But the arrest Thursday in the United States of Ghislaine Maxwell puts his name on the front of the stage, the american investigators wishing always to be questioned.
Ms. Maxwell has been charged with trafficking of a minor, accused of having recruited young girls who are victims of sexual abuse committed by Eptsein, of which she was the companion and close associate.
- LISTEN to the chronicle’s court reporter Félix Séguin at QUB Radio:
In court documents published in August 2019, a woman, Virginia Roberts, claimed to have been forced by Epstein to have sex with prince Andrew when she was 17 years old.
The duke of York has always denied these allegations, and had attempted to defend himself last November in a television interview that turned into a fiasco.
The prince, the eighth in the order of succession to the british throne, was to have appeared arrogant and lacking in compassion for the alleged victims of Epstein. Before the controversy caused, he had announced to withdraw its public commitments, a decision humiliating and extremely rare for a member of the royal family.
Born on 19 February 1960 at Buckingham palace, ten years after her big sister, princess Anne, prince Andrew is the third child of queen Elizabeth II and prince Philip. Child is easy and bouncy, it goes to the “favorite son” of His Majesty.
Young man, Andrew is one of the single most desirable and multiplies the conquests, before marrying in 1986, the flamboyant Sarah Ferguson. The queen granted him then the title of duke of York.
Two daughters were born of this union: princesses Beatrice (1988) and Eugenie (1990), but the wedding is splashed by conduct. In 1992, Fergie was photographed topless at the edge of a swimming pool in the south of France, his financial adviser licking her toes.
Despite their divorce in 1996, Andrew and Sarah say they remain “best of friends” and the duchess took up his defence.
After their separation, prince Andrew pointed out to the sides of women topless on vacation in Thailand or participating an evening on the theme of “prostitutes and pimps” in the United States with Ghislaine Maxwell.
After twenty-two years in the Navy, the duke of York became the special representative of the United Kingdom to the international trade, but it is criticized for its spending lavish at the expense of the taxpayer.
While its relations with the son-in-law of former tunisian president Ben Ali, the son of the late libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and a sulphur billionaire kazakh were already frowned, his links with Jeffrey Epstein, who was sentenced in 2008 to have led young girls into prostitution, rise to the surface in 2011. A photo showing prince Andrew twined around Virginia Roberts, who claims to have been forced to have sexual relations with him, which he categorically denies.
Another photo shows the prince strolling in Central Park with Epstein in December 2010, a year after the release from prison of it. This relationship was “ill-advised”, was recognized by the prince in November.
But a few days ago, during a television interview, he explained that the financier had allowed him to meet interesting people, and that it was “convenient” to stay with him. In even more awkward, the duke of York was deemed simply “inappropriate” behaviour of his friend.
Discreet since his withdrawal from public life, he appeared a few times on the side of her mother, and he was photographed wrapping cupcakes for a hospice with Sarah Ferguson for the containment.