This week, a new tranche of documents from a court case related to late financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein were unsealed, bringing the name of Prince Andrew back into the center of the story. Though little new information was uncovered in the first set of documents, it did lead the anti-monarchy pressure group Republic to ask the Metropolitan Police to open an investigation into the disgraced prince. A spokesperson for the police force told the BBC that there were no plans to open a new investigation. The spokesperson said, “As with any matter, should new and relevant information be brought to our attention we will assess it.” (Prince Andrew has long denied any wrongdoing regarding sexual abuse accusations made against him.)
Still, the return of the controversy has made an impact on King Charles III, according to the Daily Mail. Royal sources told the tabloid that it will only “crystalize” the king’s determination to solve the “Andrew problem” and could lead Charles to renew a push to evict Andrew from Royal Lodge, the 30-room mansion where he lives with his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson.
When reached by Vanity Fair, Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the Daily Mail’s report, citing a policy against commenting on “private family matters.”
Since the beginning of his reign 15 months ago, the monarch has sought a middle ground when it comes to his much-discussed younger brother. Though Andrew was stripped of his military titles and his HRH status the month before he came to a 2022 settlement with accuser Virginia Giuffre, he has been permitted to play a public role as a family member at events like the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation last May. During last month’s family walk to Christmas services, Andrew was a part of the larger group alongside his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson.
That hasn’t stopped the king from attempting to cast Andrew further from the royal spotlight, and last spring, The Mirror reported that Charles was planning to evict Andrew from Royal Lodge to reflect his status. The plans reportedly failed after Andrew refused to leave, and after surgery for breast cancer last summer, Ferguson spent weeks recovering in the house, and the relocation plans were reportedly shelved.
There is reason to doubt that future attempts to move Andrew and Ferguson are the consequence of the recent revival of the Epstein story, however, and directly responsive to the king’s will. Andrew reportedly signed a long-term lease to Royal Lodge upon moving into the house in 2003, and it is managed by the Crown Estate, an independent property arm that manages property held in right of the crown.
When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were asked to leave Frogmore Cottage last year, the message didn’t come directly from the king. In the book Endgame, Omid Scobie reports that the eviction notice came in the form of a letter from Sir Michael John Stevens, the keeper of the Privy Purse. Still, the dispute’s timing left little ambiguity on its relation to the king and his wishes. According to the New York Post, the decision to evict Meghan and Harry took place one day after the release of the prince’s revealing memoir, Spare, in January 2023.
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