Prince Andrew’s predicament puts royal family at a crossroads

World

Prince Andrew’s predicament puts royal family at a crossroads

There are too many working Windsors. Harry’s now employed elsewhere. Maybe Andrew can get less busy too

Martin Ivens

As it was once said of the volatile Irish economy, the state of the British royal family is catastrophic but not serious. The institution has survived the wildest antics and personal shortcomings of its members — messy divorces, internecine quarrels, sexual and financial scandals. Yet the queen has never been more popular with her subjects and republicanism remains a minority pursuit.

But what happens when the long reign of Elizabeth II finally draws to a close? Through her unique reticence and discretion, the monarch has avoided personal controversy for seven decades and so preserved the institution she serves. But even she cannot shield her children and grandchildren from beyond the grave. And one scandal lapping at the royal ankles has potential to be a legal — and moral — minefield which does more lasting damage than other personal upheavals.

Last week in a civil lawsuit filed in a New York court, an American woman, Virginia Guiffre (formerly Roberts), alleged that the queen’s second son Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, sexually abused her when she was 17 despite knowing she was a victim of sexual trafficking. Andrew has vehemently denied the charge — but the accusations are not going away and the imminent trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, an erstwhile close friend of his, has added fuel to the bonfire of royal protection...

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