Friday, 7 Aug 2020

Royal crackdown: How Queen tried to restrict Andrew’s ‘income and rein in behaviour’

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Andrew stepped down as a senior royal at the end of last year following backlash from his BBC Newsnight interview, which was dubbed a ‘car-crash’. As he is the Queen’s second eldest son and was the third-in-line to the throne at the time of his birth, he has enjoyed a very privileged life. However, his behaviour has sometimes raised eyebrows within royal circles, as he pushed the boundaries of his position.

In his new biography, ‘Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace’, author Nigel Cawthorne revealed how the Queen once tried to rein the Duke of York back in.

Mr Cawthorne explained: “The Queen knew from the constant struggles of her own sister Margaret how wretched and precarious the position of being second was.

“Andrew had picked up the privilege of free air travel on his eighteenth [birthday], but the Queen reduced his £20,000 state stipend to an allowance of £600 and invested the yearly balance as a nest egg for the moment of reckoning in his future.”

However, this did not appear to affect her son in the long term.

In later life, Andrew was to come under scrutiny because of his extravagant spending habits.

In 2003, it was reported that the Duke of York had spent £325,000 on flights — most of which was to golf courses.

In 2005, that rose to £565,000 according to the Audit Office.

Yet, Mr Cawthorne also pointed out the Queen had tried to find a role for her favourite son, especially as the birth of Prince Charles’ children meant he was pushed further down the line of succession.

He explained: “She also tried hard to create a public role for him which, like his father before him, he was not naturally suited.

“Andrew possessed that disregard for the sensitivities of people in a vulnerable position that Prince Philip had and he would best his father.”

Mr Cawthorne explained that a 28-year-old Andrew was caught in a “PR debacle” when he visited Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

Eleven people had died on the ground when Pan Am Flight 103 crashed into the town.

Upon arriving at the scene, Andrew allegedly told the crowds it had been “much worse” for the Americans, as 270 passengers on the plane died.

He reportedly also said that it had only “been a matter of time” before a plane fell out of the sky.

According to the biographer, the Queen privately said: “I wish I had gone.”

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Mr Cawthorne also claimed the Foreign Office “relied on Andrew’s private secretary to ask him to behave better” when he was appointed as Britain’s special representative for trade and investment in 2001, but she did not address it.

The biographer continued: “Following complaints from embassies in the Middle East and Latin America, senior officials met to discuss ‘the Andrew problem’.

“The Queen needed to be told. She prevaricated and suggested that Prince Philip be consulted.

“He was annoyed, and advised that Andrew be officially told ‘to sharpen up his act or lose his job’.

“An official met Andrew and issued an appropriate warning.”

Andrew stepped down from his role as the UK’s representative for trade in 2011, after his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made it to the headlines.

Andrew was reportedly hoping to return to life on the royal frontline at some point, but sources told The Sunday Times in May that the Queen “cannot see a way back” for him.

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