Disgraced Prince Andrew’s legal battles are a threat to King Charles

And just like that, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York has returned to the headlines thanks to two separate legal cases. In time for Christmas too!

If anyone assumed we had heard the last of the triple ‘D’ duke (disgraced, defenestrated and dodgy) then I have some bad news for you, with Andrew back in the spotlight thanks to a gun runner, a groping claim and a court case centred on a $75 million alleged fraud.

Firstly, a judge in New York this week has ruled that documents related to Johanna Sjoberg, who has previously accused the duke of touching her breasts during one of his New York jaunts to hang out with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, will be unsealed. (Andrew has strenuously denied Sjoberg’s allegations.)

This tranche of new evidence could be released from January 1 onward, thus confirming that King Charles will start the new year with a massive hangover, whether or not Queen Camilla decides to start mixing jugs of her trademark Fuzzy Navels at breakfast on NYE.

Secondly, a court in the UK has heard that the duke “invited an alleged Turkish fraudster and a Libyan gun smuggler to St James’s Palace” because, of course he did. This is Andrew. (Also, who else would deign to hang out with him?)

While the duke has not been accused of any wrongdoing in this matter, in which Turkish millionairess Nebahat Evyap Isbilen is suing former Goldman Sachs banker Selman Turk for allegedly stealing $75 million (£40 million) from her, still, the case is throwing up plenty of deeply embarrassing new details about what Andrew has been up to.

For example, the court has heard that in 2019, in the months leading up to the disastrous Newsnight interview that triggered his ouster, he invited Turk and Tarek Kaituni, a convicted Libyan gun runner who had links to former Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi, to St James’s Palace.

In December of that year, only weeks after his downfall, he dined with both men again at Turk’s South Kensington home to meet with potential investors.

(Gun smuggler Kaituni, for what’s it worth, is such a chum of Andrew’s that he was invited to Princess Eugenie’s 2018 wedding and bankrolled Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York’s surprise 60th birthday party.)

Andrew really is living up to his reputation for Andrewness isn’t he?

While much of the past two years have been given over to the category five Superstorm Sussex, the general mess that is the King’s brother has only been simmering away on the back burner.

Things have been quiet on the Duke of Yuck front, by and large, since in February 2022 he came to a reported $17.8 million ($USD12 million) settlement after Virginia Giuffre accused him in a civil court in New York of sexual assault, a claim the royal strenuously denied.

Then, the cheque got posted, Giuffre got her vindication and off the defrocked plonker went to while away his days, hopefully to stew in his own ignominy and in reduced circumstances.

And yet somehow, I’m very sorry to report, the Teflon twit is living a life far grander and has retained plenty, if not nearly all, of the perks of his royal life.

Attempts by King Charles to turf his younger brother out of his massive 31-room home, Royal Lodge, have come to naught, so far, leaving a man unequivocally detested by an entire nation to spend his days wandering from grand, silk-walled room to grand silk-walled room getting biscuit crumbs everywhere.

The symbolism of this is just abysmal, of such a famous bit of royal real estate left in the hands of an HRH so toxic that footmen have been given permission to taser him if he goes within 10 feet of the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Even the city of York wants nothing to do with him, with councillors last year unanimously voting to withdraw his honorary freedom of the city, which was granted to him in 1987.

The general Buckingham Palace leniency shown towards Andrew beggars belief, such as the fact that at Charles’s coronation, while Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex was denied the chance to wear his military uniform, his puffed up uncle was allowed to strut around, preening, in his Order of the Garter robes.

In 2022, the King allowed the 63-year-old to continue to enjoy the privilege of hosting a shooting weekend at Windsor Castle, according to the Daily Beast, with him “expected” to do so again this year.

Last Christmas Day, for the first time in years, the Duke of York was allowed to attend the St Mary Magdalene church service with the royal family and was not shunted off to an earlier 8am service as his late mother had made him do.

Hell, he was even given the honour of adopting Her late Majesty’s corgis.

Why the royal family are trying to quietly rehabilitate the pillock of a former international trade ambassador for the UK, I have no idea, but they clearly are. (Blood is thicker than good sense, legal advice and taste perhaps?)

In August, William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales drove Andrew to church, a tableau whose message could only be more explicit if he had worn a T-shirt emblazoned with ‘I’m back in, bitches’.

Nor have some of Andrew’s tasteful and lovely friends deserted him, such as the royal family of Bahrain who might have funded his luxe holiday to The Gulf State last year, his first overseas trip since his Newsnight interview.

In November 2022, the duke flew on a ­billionaire Swiss contact’s private jet to the country, where he stayed in the Four Seasons’ $16,000-a-night Royal Suite, according to The Sun.

Handily this all-expenses-paid jaunt was reportedly bankrolled by the Kingdom’s royal family, a nation where 40 pro-democracy demonstrators somehow died in 2011.

All of this has largely gone unnoticed by the public, but now thanks to these cases, especially the Sjoberg documents, the Andrew bin fire is threatening to flare back to life.

There can be no better fuel for the nascent British republican movement than the ding dong duke.

As noted historian Tom Holland put it during an episode of the hugely successful podcast The Rest Is History: “Andrew is a shocker. He’s like a kind of great cancer at the heart of people’s acceptance of the monarchy. A kind of thick, entitled, perv.

“Andrew is a reminder to people of what monarchy can serve up to you.”

I bet that about now Charles is wondering if it’s too late to send Andrew back …

Daniela Elser is a writer, editor and a royal commentator with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.

Read related topics:King Charles IIIPrince Andrew

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