The Royal Life Of Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew's downfall is one for the ages. He was once the royal son who could do no wrong, according to biographer Penny Junor (via The Daily Beast). But then Prince Andrew did all sorts of wrong and has now become effectively shunned from the family. His worst infractions date back to 1999, when Prince Andrew is alleged to have sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre, reports People. This was done with the help of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. That friendship first came to light in 2011 and was controversial, considering Epstein had already been in prison by that time, per BBC News.

But Prince Andrew managed to avoid much scrutiny and continued to work as a member of the royal family. That is until 2019, when Andrew's world came fell apart. That year, Giuffre's allegations from a 2015 lawsuit were made public (per Insider), and Andrew took part in a disastrous BBC interview in an attempt to clear his name, details People. Four days later, Andrew had no choice but to step down from his royal duties. Not much has gone well in the years since. His own mother, Queen Elizabeth II, stripped him of his royal patronages, and he paid a large sum to settle with Giuffre. Read on for more about the tainted prince.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Prince Andrew was once a war hero

Prince Andrew has the rare distinction among senior members of the royal family of having served in the military during wartime. Only Prince Harry has done the same, according to CNN. In fact, Andrew once played a pivotal role during battle, explains The Week. Andrew was serving in the Royal Navy and had received training as a pilot, skills that came in handy during the United Kingdom's war against Argentina — the Falklands War. The U.K. had quite a bit on its hands due to Argentina's possession of Exocet anti-ship missiles, which were able to avoid detection by British radars. However, they found some success by using decoys. By sending out helicopters to emit fake signals, they could distract the Argentinian missiles away from their ships. That would involve the helicopters flying low near the ships and then drawing the missiles away.

Prince Andrew did all this while flying a Sea Kings helicopter. But he also did much more to make him a hero: he performed rescue missions and lifted navy men off of ships while being attacked. Andrew, who was only 22 years old, said the experience was chilling, especially when he came close to being hit by a shell, per UPI.

He had a blockbuster wedding to Sarah Ferguson

As with most grooms, Prince Andrew was not the center of attention at his own wedding. No, everyone was instead focused on his bride, Sarah Ferguson, who the public affectionately referred to by the diminutive "Fergie" and whose public fervor she inspired was tagged "Fergie fever," explains the New York Times. She was appealing to many because of her relatable personality and attainable physique, providing a balance to Princess Diana's seeming perfection. Ferguson was also admired for her decision to keep working at her graphic design job after marriage.

An impressive 500 million people around the globe watched the TV broadcast of the couple's July 1986 wedding, according to the Evening Standard. Additionally, an estimated 100,000 crowded outside Buckingham Palace to catch a glimpse of the married couple. There were also crowds who staked spots on the streets of London the day before the wedding in order to catch a good view of the procession, per ITV.

He's always had a sleazy reputation

Prince Andrew has always been the most problematic one among the queen's children. His off-color behavior predates his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, and one incident in 1993 is clear that he didn't always maintain the cleanest of reputations. 

According to Tina Brown's book "The Palace Papers," that year, he stayed at the Palm Springs home of the former U.S. ambassador to the U.K., Walter Annenberg (via the New York Post). But unlike a polite guest, who provides good company for his hosts and would compliment Walter's wife, Lee, on the interior design, Andrew holed himself up in his quarters for two whole days. To make matters worse, he occupied himself by watching adult films. Not exactly the best royal manners, and it unsurprisingly shocked his hosts.

If you wanted to find a similar trend in Prince Andrew's life, you can search into his early days as a student at the Gordonstoun School. He wasn't well-liked, and it was likely due to his preference for indecent jokes as well as his snooty persona, according to "The Palace Papers" (via the NZ Herald). His talent for finding a joke in everything got him the nickname "the Sniggerer."

He's always had controversial friendships

It seems as though Prince Andrew has never been able to help himself when it comes to befriending controversial figures. The issue of the company he keeps came under scrutiny when he worked as a U.K. envoy for its Trade and Investment department, working as a sort of international businessman for British interests, per BBC News. Andrew rubbed elbows with some very questionable figures and sought to do business with leaders in autocratic regimes. In 2011, he advocated for British investment into Azerbaijan and had dinner with its president, Ilham Aliyev, several times over his eight trips into the country, reports The Guardian. This came despite criticism of Azerbaijan's human rights abuse allegations against activists. Additionally, he hosted former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif, at Buckingham Palace twice, via The Guardian.

His visits led some skeptics to question whether he was personally benefiting from these trips (per The Guardian) even though he never received an official salary from the U.K. government (per BBC News). These fears were apparently justified when it was alleged that he earned a £3.83 million commission on a deal made in Kazakhstan, leading some to declare that his actions tainted Buckingham's reputation, per The Telegraph. The palace denied the allegations (via The Independent), but he was also known to have sold his Sunninghill Park home to the son-in-law of Kazakhstan's president, BBC News reports.

Prince Andrew boosted the international arms trade

Outside of the Epstein allegations, the most unsavory detail about Prince Andrew is likely what he did to help the international arms trade. While acting as the United Kingdom Trade and Investment envoy, Andrew made business deals on behalf of the country, several of them relating to arms. After Andrew's third trip to Yemen, the U.K. coincidentally approved £160,000 worth of ammunition and body armor to the country in a deal, according to The Independent. This is despite the fact that Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, had long been considered corrupt. Yemen experienced violent protests amid the Arab Spring shortly after the deal.

Andrew continued his arms trade advocacy when he criticized bribery investigations into British arms company BAE during a private lunch in Kyrgyzstan, reports The Guardian. His rant, according to a cable released by Wikileaks, railed against U.K. fraud investigators' efforts to put an arms deal with Saudi Arabia at risk. He seemingly prioritized the morally-questionable deal without a second thought to corruption and bribery, leading to increased calls for his resignation as the UKTI envoy.

Some British scientists didn't want to be associated with him

In 2013, Prince Andrew was elected to the Royal Society as a fellow, reports The Guardian. This wasn't the first time that a member of the royal family, without having any scientific expertise, was voted into the storied and historic British scientific institution. After all, when Prince Andrew was voted in, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Princess Anne were already members. But the inclusion of Andrew proved a little too much for a few members. Opposition to his status as a fellow was rooted in his past controversies as the former U.K. Trade and Investment envoy, and the morally questionable deals he made at the time, along with his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, according to professor and Royal Society fellow David Colquhoun (via The Independent).

Colquhoun questioned the merits of the archaic tradition of inviting in royalty as a whole, but for him, Andrew was beyond the pale. But despite the misgivings, most people didn't care to vote Andrew out; out of the 147 who voted, only 24 voted "no," per The Guardian. On the other hand, there wasn't much fervor in favor of Andrew, either. A total of 1,450 fellows were qualified to vote to begin with.

There's been a shortage of gallantry with Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew has put Buckingham Palace in various minor (relatively speaking) uncomfortable circumstances in the past. On one occasion, during a royal trip to Southern California, Andrew entertained himself by spraying reporters near him with paint, according to UPI. He didn't apologize for the random prank, and even laughed about the incident with his Californian hosts. The damage done to the reporters' cameras totaled $1,200, forcing the British Consulate to consider making amends.

And you can tell a lot about a person's character by the way he treats "the help." According to The Guardian, a senior footman at Buckingham Palace said that Andrew would often curse at those charged with waking him up in the morning. His type of greeting would depend on his mood. Even the royal palaces themselves seemed to have fallen victim to his impudence. In 2016, a criminal complaint was filed against Prince Andrew, alleging that he had rammed his Range Rover into Windsor Great Park's gates, forcing them open, just so that he wouldn't have to drive another mile to get into his home, per The Guardian. Although the police chose not to investigate, the gate had to be repaired.

He's been living with his ex-wife

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's relationship has raised a few eyebrows over the years. Although they divorced in 1996, the two kept living together with their daughters at Sunninghill Park and then Royal Lodge, The Independent reports. But even long after Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice had moved out, gotten married, and started their own families, the once-married royal couple remained housemates, per Vanity Fair. Ferguson once briefly had her own home, in 2007, which was nearby to Andrew's, but it caught on fire in 2008. Consequently, she crashed at Andrew's new home, Royal Lodge.

Although it's an arrangement most people can't relate to, Andrew and Ferguson have been on friendly terms for a while. In fact, in 2013, rumors swirled that they could remarry, The Independent notes. And Ferguson hasn't been afraid to publicly show support for her ex. When Prince Andrew was named in a lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein in 2015, Ferguson expressed her doubt about its veracity and spoke of his virtues as a father and as a person (via Today). She even once expressed regret that they ever divorced, per The Independent, and even Prince Andrew seems willing to remarry ... as long as his reputation can be restored, reports Vanity Fair.

Prince Andrew outspends his income for a luxurious lifestyle

When it comes to Prince Andrew's luxurious lifestyle and his finances, onlookers are dumbfounded. Officially, he made £250,000 as a working royal — when he was still in the family's good graces — along with a £20,000 pension from the Royal Navy, explains The Times. But that didn't explain his £220,000 Bentley, a £150,000 Patek Phillippe, and the fortune he likely spent to maintain his luxurious Royal Lodge home. Not to mention all of his overseas trips to posh resorts and a ski chalet he purchased in Switzerland in 2014, reports The Guardian. And there was definitely no explanation for his spending after he was forced to unofficially retire from royal duties in 2019.

One explanation was that he received help from very influential friends. One of these friends is banker and political donor David Rowland, who offered Andrew credit in the past and has also cleared his debt, per The Times. Another explanation is that Andrew built up a system of business partners during his time as the U.K.'s Trade and Investment envoy and now relies financially on those shady connections, which could include oligarchs in Kazakhstan. A third explanation is that Andrew's wealth is all an illusion. After all, he was sued by the chalet's original owner after being unable to pay her all the money he owed.

He didn't want Prince Charles to become king

In a storyline that seems written for Netflix's "The Crown," Prince Andrew once did his best to get King Charles booted from the line of succession. According to Angela Levin's "Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall: From Outcast to Queen Consort," Prince Andrew suffered from sibling envy and didn't want his brother to wear the crown (via Marie Claire). Although he wanted to see himself in his brother's place, his dislike of Charles' privilege was so immense, that he even would have preferred Prince William inherit the throne instead. 

Andrew's antagonism toward Charles became evident when he tried to convince Queen Elizabeth II to prevent Charles' marriage to Camilla. Andrew probably thought he had an edge with his mother, considering his long-time status as the queen's favorite child (per The Independent), but to his frustration, she ultimately spurned his advice.

The reason for Prince Andrew's backstabbing isn't clear, besides the fact that he wanted to become Prince Regent to a teenage Prince William. Maybe Andrew had some soothsayer abilities and foresaw that his brotherly relationship with Charles would completely disappear by 2022, even before Charles became king, according to royal expert Neil Sean (via Fox News). For example, in 2019, Prince Andrew was nowhere to be seen at King Charles' Prince of Wales 50th anniversary commemoration, notes The Daily Beast.

Prince Andrew wants more recognition for his daughters

In June 2022, when Prince Andrew asked Queen Elizabeth II to allow him back one of his military titles, he also put in a good word for his daughters. Per The Telegraph, Prince Andrew wants his immediate family to have an elevated role within the royal family. It would allow for Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice to work as royal representatives, just as the senior members do. But it seems as if Andrew will be disappointed once again, since King Charles might strip the princesses of their own titles, reports Fox News. According to royal expert Hilary Fordwich, Andrew has essentially spoiled the princesses' hopes of integrating with the senior royals due to the sexual allegations against him. If Charles goes through with it, the princesses would be demoted to Lady Eugenie and Lady Beatrice.

But perhaps it wouldn't be a great loss to Eugenie and Beatrice, since they've been brought up with the same career expectations as commoners, explains The Daily Beast. Although they wouldn't mind more engaged roles in the royal family, they have steady jobs to fall back on: Beatrice works in the tech industry and Eugenie is a director at an art gallery.

There's no hope for him at Buckingham anymore

It's no secret that ever since Prince Andrew was stripped of his HRH status and military titles, he's been doing everything in his power to get them back. This included lobbying the queen before her death in June 2022, per The Telegraph. Specifically, he wanted to be invited to official royal events again and wanted his Colonel of the Grenadier Guards title reinstated. It didn't happen during his mother's reign, and there's no hope that it will happen during his brother's. According to royal expert Joe Little, Prince Andrew will likely have no role in King Charles' slimmed-down monarchy (via The Guardian). At Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, Andrew was not even allowed to wear his military uniform or even salute her coffin, reports Entertainment Tonight.

It was as good an indication as any that Charles has no intentions to veer from the status quo — apart from the fact that Andrew's now listed on the very bottom of the royal family website. And when he was given the privilege of tending to the late queen's corgis, news outlets described it as a demotion to being a dog-walker (via Aberdeen Live).