Even the most casual of royal watcher knows who the major players in the British monarchy are: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and his children, Prince Harry and Prince William (and Kate and Meghan and the royal babies, of course).
But one step out of the spotlight are the rest of members of the Firm, as it’s sometimes called, including the Queen’s three other children: Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and Prince Andrew. Here’s what you need to know about Elizabeth and Philip’s third child, the Duke of York, who has recently found himself in the public eye because of his association with Jeffrey Epstein, and news that he could face a civil sex abuse case, unless a settlement is agreed upon beforehand.
He’s the Queen’s second son.
Prince Andrew was born on February 19, 1960. At the time of his birth, he was second in line to the throne, behind his older brother, Prince Charles, but before his older sister Princess Anne. Now, he’s ninth in the order of succession, following the arrival of Harry and Meghan’s son Archie and their daughter Lili.
Andrew currently holds the title of Duke of York, in addition to Prince.
As is tradition, Andrew was given a dukedom by the Queen on his wedding day.
Prince Andrew has made headlines for his association with Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince Andrew and financier Jeffrey Epstein reportedly met in 1999, and Andrew has acknowledged having stayed at several of Epstein’s properties over the years, including at his home in New York City in 2010, when Epstein was already a convicted sex offender. In 2019, Epstein was arrested on multiple charges related to sex trafficking and later died by suicide in jail.
In the weeks following Epstein’s death, Buckingham Palace released a number of statement about Prince Andrew’s friendship with Epstein.
For example, one released on August 18, 2019 states that the Queen’s son is “appalled” by Epstein’s alleged crimes. It reads in full:
“The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes. His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”
That statement was released after a 2010 video of Prince Andrew inside Epstein’s New York City home was published by the Daily Mail. In the footage, the Duke of York can be seen waving to a woman from the door.
In mid-November of 2019, it became clear that scrutiny of the Duke of York’s association with Epstein was not going away, and the royal decided to sit down for a broadcast interview, a conversation which Newsnight journalist Emily Maitlis has described as “no holds barred.”
They discussed how Prince Andrew first met Epstein (he says, through Ghislaine Maxwell) and spoke about the times the royal stayed at Epstein’s various properties. During their conversation, Prince Andrew also denied allegations that he had sex with one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre.
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady. None whatsoever,” he said.
Additionally, Prince Andrew admitted that it was “wrong” to visit Epstein in New York City in 2010.
But, the Duke of York said he did not regret his friendship with Epstein, and over the course of the nearly hour-long interview, Prince Andrew did not explicitly express sympathy for Epstein’s victims.
Watch the full interview here:
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He’s was a full-time working royal up until fairly recently.
After two decades of serving in the Navy, Andrew joined the family business so to speak, and spent time carrying out official engagements and representing the Queen and the U.K. abroad.
But following public criticism over the aforementioned Newsnight interview about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew has stepped back from public duties, “for the foreseeable future.”
“I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission,” he said in a personal statement released on November 20.
Notably, he also mentioned that he would be willing to speak with law enforcement, and said: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.”
Read his statement in full here.
Filthy Rich: Jeffrey Epstein, a documentary released on Netflix in May 2020 takes another look both at the accusations against Prince Andrew, and at his interview with Newsnight. Watch it here.
And in August 2021, Virginia Giuffre filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew, accusing him of alleged sexual abuse. His spokesperson declined to comment, but as mentioned above, the royal previously denied every having met Giuffre.
In January 2021, a judge denied Prince Andrew’s lawyers’ motion to dismiss the civil case, meaning it could go to trial unless a settlement is reached beforehand. Shortly after that news broke, Buckingham Palace issued a statement announcing that Andrew’s military titles and patronages had been returned to the Queen.
With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.
He was previously married to Sarah Ferguson
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson (better known by most as Fergie) wed on July 23, 1986 at Westminster Abbey to much fanfare, but the relationship was not meant to last. They had two children together, Princess Beatrice (born in August of 1988) and Princess Eugenie (born in March of 1990), but eventually separated in 1992. Andrew and Fergie divorced in 1996, but remain very close.
As Princess Eugenie put it, “They are the best divorced couple I know.”
Given his single status, Prince Andrew previously accompanied his mother to events when Prince Philip was not present. But following his retreat from royal life, that hasn’t been the case.
He’s a grandfather.
In September of 2020, Princess Eugenie announced that she is expecting her first child with an Instagram post. “Jack and I are so excited for early 2021….👶🏻,” she wrote.
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And on February 9, 2021, Eugenie gave birth to a baby boy. Buckingham Palace confirmed the news, noting that Prince Andrew was “delighted.” Just a few months later, Princess Beatrice confirmed that she, too, was expecting a child, and she welcomed a baby girl in September 2021. Naturally, Prince Andrew was “delighted” then too.
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