Prince Andrew Officially Declared Upper Class Twit of the CenturyJef Costello
Many of my readers will remember the “classic” Monty Python sketch in which a gaggle of impossibly stupid aristocrats, all with buckteeth and double-barreled names, gimp about an athletic field competing for the title of “Upper Class Twit of the Year.” A diehard monarchist, I always regarded this portrayal of the upper crust with the sort of skepticism of which my British friends tell me only an American is capable. But in the wake of Prince Andrew’s recent, disastrous BBC Newsnight interview about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, I now suspect that a profound and actually rather disturbing stupidity may lurk in the upper echelons of Society, like that madwoman in Mr. Rochester’s attic.
The Spectator has described Andrew’s interview with BBC 2’s Emily Maitlis as “a career-defining calamity for the Prince. Until now he has relied on silence . . . which works by starving the monster to death. But he hasn’t just thrown it a few meager scraps. This is a feast on which it will gorge for years.” As we shall see, this is just classic British understatement.
For days I avoided watching the actual interview, as I feared it would be too cringy to bear. I relied on reports in The Spectator and other sources. Then I forced myself to watch, eyelids held open with alligator clips like Alex in A Clockwork Orange. What I found was beyond cringe. At times I held my head in my hands or shielded my eyes. I took breaks and checked Facebook. But I kept returning, until the damned thing ended – not with a bang but a whimper. It should have ended with a BIG EXPLOSION! Or perhaps with the Prince dousing himself in brandy and setting himself on fire like a Victorian Christmas pudding. After all, I felt I had just witnessed the most humiliating, senseless, and bizarre self-immolation of a British public figure since Jeremy Thorpe applied Vaseline to Norman “Bunnies” Scott.
The Spectator called the interview “a glorious blend of the embarrassing, the questionable and the downright nutty.” But this barely begins to describe what transpired. In fact, the Prince’s interview is a monumental disaster that looks it will permanently end his career in public life, and could quite possibly damage the monarchy itself. In the course of the interview, Andrew is asked how his association with the pervert Epstein has affected the Royal Family. He responds, “It has been what I would describe as a constant sore in the family. We all knew him.” Egads. Surely some (further) revelation is at hand . . .
Reporter Emily Maitlis (dressed, curiously, like she had been costumed for the Sgt. Pepper cover) is polite to Prince Andrew, and allows him the face-saving pretense that he had been meaning to appear on Newsnight for months anyway, to discuss his charitable work. But she quickly turns the topic to Epstein. Andrew’s attempts to distance himself from the billionaire are comically inept. He first claims that his relationship with Epstein was one in which he stayed in Epstein’s houses when the latter wasn’t there. Then he admits to visiting Epstein himself regularly. At first, he adamantly denies that he and the man were close, even going so far as to imply that his real friendship was with Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, and that Epstein was a bit of a third wheel.
This is all belied minutes later by revelations of intimate dinners with Epstein, and long, heart-to-heart chats while walking in the park. Andrew even invited Epstein and Maxwell to Princess Beatrice’s eighteenth birthday party at Windsor Castle. (His excuse: the invitation was really intended for Maxwell; Epstein was merely the “plus one.”) Oh, and then there was the shooting weekend at Sandringham, possibly the most intimate of the Royal Family’s residences: Andrew and the great perv Epstein, banging away for two days at grouse or something. But remember, Andrew barely knew him.
After Epstein was imprisoned in 2008 for trafficking underage girls, Andrew stated, wisely, that he decided he needed to break off his friendship with the multi-billionaire (the source of whose fortune, by the way, has never been satisfactorily explained). However, the way in which he went about this was decidedly . . . odd. The Prince flew to New York in 2010 to personally inform Epstein that they could no longer be friends. “Doing it over the phone was the chicken’s way of doing it,” he explains in the interview, and attributes this to his sense of honor. So far so good. Here we see an old-fashioned, aristocratic ethos displaying itself. Epstein had been very generous with Andrew, allowing him the use of his houses and private jet (and more, it seems). Andrew felt he owed him something, and felt a gentleman would handle the breakup in person.
Of course, this utterly belies his earlier claim that the two were not close. Had Epstein been merely a generous acquaintance, the boyfriend of a friend, Andrew could have had an equerry handle the matter with an e-mail, as The Spectator points out. Instead, not only does Andrew fly to New York to sever ties with Epstein personally, he actually stays in Epstein’s house, with Epstein present, for four days. If he was so anxious to no longer be associated Epstein, couldn’t Andrew have stayed in a hotel and arranged a brief, private audience with Epstein to give him the bad news? Why did he stay at the man’s home? Andrew’s answer: “It was a convenient place to stay.”
But so is the Four Seasons. Has Andrew fallen on such hard times that he’s always needing to crash at a friend’s place? And why for four days? “I was doing other things whilst I was in New York,” he says. But if Andrew had realized that it was a liability to continue to be seen with Epstein, why did he give Epstein the kissoff (as he claims he was doing) while taking a walk with him through Central Park? A walk which was, infamously (and inevitably), photographed and spread across the world’s tabloids. Either Andrew is lying, or he is very stupid. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.
During the interview, Maitlis confronts Andrew with the fact that during his four-day visit with Epstein, witnesses reported seeing numerous young, possibly underage girls coming and going from Epstein’s house. There is even security camera video that shows this. But Andrew says that if girls were coming and going, “I didn’t see them.” Yet here is an image from one camera, showing Andrew himself apparently opening the door for one lucky Lolita.
Andrew states that the Epstein home was like a railway station, with lots of people coming and going. Did he wonder who any of these people were? Andrew’s answer is classically, well . . . royal. “I don’t wish to appear grand . . . but as far as I was aware they were staff.” In other words, “I don’t notice staff unless I require a gin and tonic, and so it never occurred to me to wonder who all these attractive young girls were.” The interviewer responds cheekily, “But you’d notice if there were hundreds of underage girls in Buckingham Palace, wouldn’t you?” In response to which Andrew once more simply denies that he saw any girls there – again, despite evidence to the contrary. He also denies receiving a foot massage from one such “staff member,” a young Russian girl. Another guest at the same time, the literary agent John Brockman, says that he witnessed Andrew getting the massage. Again, the Prince denies any knowledge:
Maitlis: You’re absolutely sure or you can’t remember?
Andrew: Yeah, I’m absolutely sure.
Maitlis: So John Brockman’s statement is false?
Andrew: I wouldn’t . . . I wouldn’t . . . I don’t know Mr. Brockman, so I don’t know what he’s talking about.
Maitlis: But that definitely wasn’t you getting a foot massage from a Russian girl in Jeffrey Epstein’s house?
EM: It might seem a funny way to break off a friendship, a four-day house party of sorts with a dinner. It’s an odd way to break up a friendship.
PA: It’s a difficult way of put . . . that’s a very stark way of putting it, yes, you’re absolutely right. But actually, the truth of it is that I actually only saw him for about, what, the dinner party, the walk in the park, and probably passing in the passage.
Uh huh, right.
Maitlis asked Andrew about a party thrown during his December 2010 visit, to celebrate Epstein’s release from prison (notoriously, he served only thirteen months and was allowed to leave jail on a “work release” for up to twelve hours a day, for six days a week; basically, he only slept there). Andrew was supposed to have been invited to this party as “guest of honor.” At first he denies it: “I didn’t go.” But then he has a sudden, fortuitous recollection: “Oh, in 2010? That, there was, there certainly wasn’t a party to celebrate his release in December. Because it was a small dinner party. There only were only eight or ten of us.” Oh, well. That makes it all right then. Andrew didn’t go to a party in honor of Epstein’s release; he merely went to a small, exclusive, intimate dinner party in honor of Epstein’s release. I’m glad we cleared that up. Strange behavior from a man who wanted to distance himself from Epstein and his crimes. Strange behavior from a royal patron of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
Inevitably, Maitlis brings up the topic of Virginia Roberts, a young woman who claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew. A widely circulated photograph shows Andrew with his arm around Roberts.
The Prince denied ever even having met the girl. But what of the photograph? Here he had several responses, and it is hard to decide which is the least credible:
- It’s me in the photograph, but the photograph has been faked. I was never with Virginia Roberts.
- Or perhaps I did meet her, and the photo was taken, and I just don’t remember. But that’s not my hand around her waist. It’s a fake hand. I don’t do public displays of affection. I didn’t do this, for example:
And, by the way, I don’t party.
- Jeffrey Epstein didn’t carry a camera. (The relevance of this assertion to whether the photo is real is somewhat hard to see.) Maitlis helpfully pointed out that according to Roberts, the camera belonged to her.
- That picture was taken on the second floor of Ghislaine Maxwell’s house, and I’ve never seen the second floor of her house. But as The Spectator asked, “How does he recognize an area of the house he has yet to visit?” Elementary.
Roberts alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrew on a particular evening in 2001 when the two partied at a club with the unfortunate name “Tramps.” Impossible, responded the Prince. You see, he vividly remembers that on that particular evening in 2001 he had taken his daughter Beatrice, then thirteen, to Pizza Express in Woking. How is it possible that Andrew remembers what he was doing on that exact date? Is a visit to Pizza Express in Woking so memorable that its date becomes seared in the memory, like the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, or JFK was assassinated? Andrew’s answer: “Going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do.”
In other words: “I’m a Prince, you see. Normally I’m eating pheasant under glass, not slumming at the Pizza Express in God-forsaken Woking. So the date was positively burned into my royal memory.” As was Woking itself, it would seem: “I’ve never been . . . I’ve only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly.” Well, I’ve never been to Woking at all, but a glance at its Wikipedia entry suggests that the only weirdly distinct thing about it, as English towns go, is that it’s about ninety percent white. All things considered, this is a safe place to take daddy’s little princess for a pizza party. If it even happened. As The Spectator observes ominously, “The palace security-log will confirm his whereabouts that afternoon. But it’s not inconceivable that the pizza banquet in Woking and the meeting at Tramps occurred sequentially on the same day.” Poor Prince Andrew. Oh, what a tangled web. Doesn’t he realize what “pizza” is a codeword for? Perhaps he has a cleverer sense of humor than we have given him credit for.
Virginia Roberts has provided a very detailed description of her evening at Tramps with Andrew, and subsequent sexual experience. It includes the detail that he was sweating profusely. When asked about this, Andrew responds with a defense that is both foolish and bizarre:
There’s a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time, and that was . . . was it . . . yes, I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at and I simply . . . it was almost impossible for me to sweat. And it’s only because I have done a number of things in the recent past that I am starting to be able to do that again. So I’m afraid to say that there’s a medical condition that says that I didn’t do it so therefore . . .
Since the Newsnight interview, legions of mischief-makers have been combing Internet archives for photos of Prince Andrew sweating and posting them online. Has a dumber alibi ever been conceived? Couldn’t he just have said that she’s making it up, that we never partied at Tramps, and left it at that? You have to say one thing for Phillip and Elizabeth: They did not teach their second son how to lie. And if Andrew simply had to tell this particular whopper, couldn’t he have done it with a bit more class, instead of blaming it on PTSD or something? Couldn’t he have said, “I’m a British Prince. We don’t sweat.” Or, “I’m so deucedly cool and intrepid I am physically incapable of sweating.” Or, “Sweating? What’s that? Oh, yes, it’s something the staff do when I scream at them.”
It is a disconcerting experience to watch a man – any man, even one who may have put his penis where he shouldn’t – self-destruct on television. Andrew never loses his temper with Maitlis and never becomes haughty. At a certain point, however, his voice betrays the unmistakable signs of a man who is becoming increasingly nervous, because he knows this is going badly and wishes he’d never agreed to it. (True to his word, he does not seem to sweat.) Still, as painful as this whole thing is, there is something charmingly British about it. There is Andrew’s mea culpa “I let the side down,” as well as his appeal to “honor” and his description of Epstein’s sexual crimes as “unbecoming.” To which Maitlis responds, incredulously, “Unbecoming? He was a sex offender.” “Yeah, I’m sorry, I’m being polite,” Andrew answers. Then there are all the little indications of the vast chasm that separates the royals from other folks: the memorable novelty of pizza in Woking, the invisibility of staff, the (alleged) allergy to public displays of affection, and so on.
Indeed, as I watched this slow train wreck, I could not help thinking that it had crossed the line into British comedy. So hilariously lame was Andrew’s performance, it reminded me of a segment from Christopher Morris’s parody newsmagazine Brasseye, in which a Naval officer at the center of a public scandal offers impossibly false and absurd answers to an interviewer’s questions (watch it here).
Not so amusing was this exchange:
Maitlis: You seem utterly convinced you’re telling the truth. Would you be willing to testify or give a statement under oath if you were asked?
Andrew: Well, I’m like everybody else, and I will have to take all the legal advice that there was before I was to do that sort of thing. But if push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty bound to do so . . .
Maitlis: Virginia Roberts’ lawyers, legal team say that they’ve asked for a legal statement from you. There is an active FBI investigation. Would you be willing to provide that?
PA: Again, I’m bound by what my legal advice is . . . legal advisers tell me.
Many viewers were outraged by the fact that Andrew expressed no condemnation of Epstein, beyond describing his conduct as “unbecoming.” When asked if he regretted being friends with Epstein, Andrew said that he didn’t, as the friendship had opened a lot of doors for him. He also doesn’t regret visiting Epstein’s Palm Beach residence around four times a year – a figure which Maitlis revealed in the interview, and which Andrew claimed was perhaps a trifle exaggerated. (We suppose she is basing this on travel records – if so, then the Prince is foolish to make denials.) He is supposed to have received “massages” in Palm Beach. Maitlis points out near the end of the interview that the women Epstein abused “are now being heard.” “Quite rightly,” blurts Andrew, almost as an afterthought.
In the days following this debacle, practically every person or organization that ever had anything to do with Andrew has been scrambling to dissociate themselves from him. Just a couple of days ago, the Prince issued a statement announcing that he had asked the Queen for permission to step away from public engagements, and that she had granted it. The story that has emerged, however, is that it was she who took the initiative here, effectively “firing” Andrew from royal life (at least where public activities are concerned). Reportedly, his elder brother Prince Charles pushed for this, after watching the interview and doubtless being mortified by it. As I write this, it has just emerged that the Queen has even cancelled Andrew’s sixtieth birthday party.
The facts about Epstein are still trickling out, and the public rage directed at Andrew shows no signs of dying down. He may wind up a bigger royal black sheep than the Duke of Windsor. And if there are further revelations concerning him or other members of the Royal Family – and I think there will be – the monarchy itself could be in peril. We now know that the bedrooms at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch were fitted with hidden cameras and microphones. Did his other residences feature such optional extras? Epstein was obviously in the blackmail business. Either this was how he made his money, or he was set up in his lavish lifestyle by some sinister power that wanted the blackmail material he could provide.
The likely culprit is Israel, seeking yet another means to manipulate the wealthy and powerful to do its bidding. Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, Robert Maxwell, a former MP, was very likely a Mossad agent. Six serving and former directors of Israeli intelligence were on hand for Maxwell’s funeral in Israel. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir eulogized him, stating, “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.” Hmmmmm. And what exactly was a pedo doing with a “girlfriend” in her fifties? My guess is that this was a professional, not a romantic, relationship.
Something seems to have tipped as of late. It’s like a thousand rocks have simultaneously been turned over. This supposedly civilized and progressive world is being ruled by sociopathic degenerates who have arrogantly supposed that they could hold onto power indefinitely and keep their crimes concealed. Everywhere they are now being exposed for what they are. Bill Clinton likely had his fingers in the same sticky pies Andrew did. Will the next revelations be about him? Ghislaine Maxwell must be sitting on a vast trove of incriminating evidence concerning many powerful men. And who killed Jeffrey Epstein? No one, and I mean no one believes that he committed suicide, which says a lot about the regard most people now have for the establishment. Did Mossad arrange his death?
All across the world, from Paris to Hong Kong, we are seeing the people rising against the corrupt elites. Further revelations coming from the Epstein affair will fuel this. And come they will.