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US News Prince Andrew's sorrowful 60th: A haunting insight into the Duke's celebration after the Jeffrey Epstein scandal cost his royal role, promotion to an Admiral and any Palace fanfare

13:55  19 february  2020
13:55  19 february  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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60 th : A haunting insight into the Duke ' s celebration after the Jeffrey Epstein scandal cost his royal role , promotion to an Admiral and any Palace Andrew should have celebrated his birthday being decorated with the accoutrements of a full admiral (on his 55th birthday he was raised merely

Prince Andrew has withdrawn from royal duties ever since his ill-fated Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis. But nothing quite illustrates the Duke of York's dizzying Prince Andrew ' s sorrowful 60 th : A haunting insight into the Duke ' s celebration after the Jeffrey Epstein scandal cost his royal role .

Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, Duke of York are posing for a picture: There will be no easy smiles for the cameras as Prince Andrew reaches that milestone today (pictured with the Queen in January) © Provided by Daily Mail There will be no easy smiles for the cameras as Prince Andrew reaches that milestone today (pictured with the Queen in January)

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The Queen was at her most relaxed. Casually dressed in a red twinset, her smile for the camera displaying a happy monarch at peace with life. Click, click. Taking the pictures was her son, Andrew. The occasion was her 60th birthday.

He was 26. Friends recall him marvelling at his mother and wondering 'what I'll be like at 60'. Now we know.

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There will be no easy smiles for the cameras as Prince Andrew reaches that milestone today. At 60, he should be approaching an age where he is seen as one of the Royal Family's elder statesmen, a prince of experience respected by the people, admired by the new generations of royals.

Instead, he faces a future of ignominy. Even as he walks his daughter, Beatrice, up the aisle in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace at the end of May, the congregation's curious eyes will be as much on him as on the bride.

We do not need to ask how it has come to this, how the Queen's favourite son has sacrificed the nation's respect.

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It wasn't his love of women, but his love of money that brought him into the unsavoury company of the multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

As he confessed so naively in the Newsnight interview that brought about his downfall, the most important aspect of his friendship with the American sex offender was his dinner parties that brought him close to important people.

How different this anniversary should have been. A lover of military gold braid, like all the royals, Andrew should have celebrated his birthday being decorated with the accoutrements of a full admiral (on his 55th birthday he was raised merely to vice-admiral).

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Clearly, this further elevation could never have taken place with things being as they are, but he was allowed to let it be known that he had 'deferred' the honour, which is in the gift of his mother.

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Flags to mark his birthday would have been flying from public buildings the length and breadth of the land. Now they will not, though the bells of Westminster Abbey will ring to mark the occasion.

Just imagine the look on his face at the birthday party the Queen was to have given him at Buckingham Palace, as guests raised their glasses to his good health.

There will be a celebration, but nothing on the scale originally planned: instead of Buckingham Palace there is a family dinner at Royal Lodge, his home in Windsor Great Park, for about a dozen, while a group of friends have said they want to organise something, too.

But it is one thing to lay on an event and quite another to find a sufficient number of guests to attend it. Shakespeare's Diary in the Mail yesterday revealed that additional invitations had to be sent out for the Royal Lodge dinner after a number of guests discovered they were 'unavailable'.

Elizabeth II wearing a hat: The biography of Prince Andrew of England, the second son of Queen  Elizabeth II and Philip of Edinburgh, has several controversial episodes. One  of the latest centres on his scandalous friendship with Jeffrey Epstein,  the American tycoon who committed suicide in September 2019 while awaiting  trial for sex trafficking. The scandal had led to the withdrawal of  Andrew from public life in England.

So what people will be thinking of Prince Andrew on his 60th birthday is: where does he go from here?

His withdrawal from public life couldn't have come at a worse time for the royals, with Harry and Meghan now decidedly off the scene.

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But few believe this will hasten his return to formal duties. 'He could be out of circulation for years,' is the view of one senior figure. 'So long as Epstein's name is in the air, Andrew's will be associated with him.'

He will, of course, lean on Fergie, the ex-wife from whom he has never truly parted and who has always been happy to lean on him.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie: At 40, he was being given a landmark birthday party by the Queen at Windsor Castle at which the guests included Ghislaine Maxwell (pictured), who was accompanied by a certain Jeffrey Epstein © Provided by Daily Mail At 40, he was being given a landmark birthday party by the Queen at Windsor Castle at which the guests included Ghislaine Maxwell (pictured), who was accompanied by a certain Jeffrey Epstein

At the one official function he has attended — a dinner to mark Chinese New Year hosted by China's ambassador at his official residence — Fergie accompanied him.

That evening apart, he has spent most of his time in Royal Lodge. To add to his woes, the weather has been so wet that he has hardly been able to expel his frustrations on the golf course. Not that he particularly wishes to be seen. 'We call it being in the bunker,' says one of his circle. 'His main priority is protecting the children.'

Meanwhile, it is deeply ironic that a sparkling new property now stands on the site of Sunninghill Park, the former marital home given to him and Fergie by the Queen as a wedding present and where they lived when Beatrice and her sister, Eugenie, were small.

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If ever a deal was the precursor to Andrew's troubles, it was the curious case of the £15 million that Kazakhstan oligarch Timur Kulibayev paid him for it, when his asking price was only £12 million.

But then, these were the kind of people with whom Andrew spent so much of his time. The sale enabled him to buy the £13 million skiing chalet in Verbier, in the Swiss Alps, that was registered in his and his ex-wife's joint names. Usually he would have been there by now, but Verbier is a place where one is 'seen' and inevitably photographed by the paparazzi.

'Andrew is very bruised by what has happened so it's not surprising if he's become rather withdrawn,' says one of his old friends.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Ghislaine Maxwell posing for the camera: Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts at Ghislaine Maxwell's townhouse in London on March 13 2001 © Provided by Daily Mail Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts at Ghislaine Maxwell's townhouse in London on March 13 2001

One place from which he has not withdrawn is Buckingham Palace. He is the only one of the Queen's children who still has an apartment as well as an office at 'Buck House' and has been there frequently.

But, like his diary, his office is now empty, the staff gone, including Amanda Thirsk, the devoted private secretary who is said to have played a decisive role in convincing him that doing the Emily Maitlis interview was a good idea.

She is now running Pitch@Palace, Andrew's 'Dragons' Den' style project, which connects start-up firms, mainly in the technology sector, with investors.

She is doing it without the man who dreamed it up: Andrew. Even his name has been deleted from the home page of its website.

Pitch, according to one senior palace figure, was 'a neat invention that created the impression that he was still a trade envoy for Britain, a vehicle for him travelling the world. And, of course, it all showed up in the Court Circular, which made him look busy.'

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In many ways, Pitch replaced his much-loved role as an international trade envoy which he lost in 2011. The line between his official position and his private interests were in danger of becoming blurred, and the Epstein scandal sealed his fate. What is now also certain is that Andrew will never realise his dream of getting Pitch into the U.S.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Who would have imagined such a scenario when the Prince was growing up? After all, he was a boy who actually enjoyed schooldays at Gordonstoun, which Prince Charles hated so much he famously dubbed it 'Colditz in kilts' © Provided by Daily Mail Who would have imagined such a scenario when the Prince was growing up? After all, he was a boy who actually enjoyed schooldays at Gordonstoun, which Prince Charles hated so much he famously dubbed it 'Colditz in kilts'

So the future does look rather bleak for the Duke of York, though for how long no one knows.

Who would have imagined such a scenario when the Prince was growing up? After all, he was a boy who actually enjoyed schooldays at Gordonstoun, which Prince Charles hated so much he famously dubbed it 'Colditz in kilts'.

By 20, Andrew had already been in the Navy a year at the start of a distinguished career, the highlight of which was his service as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands war, flying dangerous decoy missions luring Argentine missiles away from the Fleet.

At 30, he was about to become a father for the second time after four years of marriage to the former Sarah Ferguson.

At 40, he was being given a landmark birthday party by the Queen at Windsor Castle at which the guests included Ghislaine Maxwell, who was accompanied by a certain Jeffrey Epstein.

His marriage having ended in 1996, he was said to be going through a mid-life crisis, dating a series of pretty girls and visiting nightclubs. Within a year of his 40th he had left the Navy with the rank of Commander, and before long had eagerly taken up the offer to be a trade envoy for Britain.

Ten years later, at 50, he was about to lose his trade role and Fergie was back living with him at the Queen Mother's former home, Royal Lodge, which he had inherited and refurbished. So far, so good.

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Now, as he turns 60, Fergie remains under his roof and Epstein, though dead, remains a constant reminder of his lack of judgment. As will public perception of the infamous photograph allegedly showing the Prince with one of Epstein's victims, Virginia Roberts. Andrew denies any wrong-doing.

One is entitled to wonder whether Prince Andrew will ever come to see his association with Epstein, who killed himself in a New York prison last summer, in that light. Unlike his elder brother, Charles, Andrew is not a man of introspection. 'He does things and then thinks about it afterwards,' says a courtier.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York wearing a suit and tie: At 30, he was about to become a father for the second time after four years of marriage to the former Sarah Ferguson © Provided by Daily Mail At 30, he was about to become a father for the second time after four years of marriage to the former Sarah Ferguson

All his life, of course, Andrew has known that he occupies a special place in his mother's affections. Unlike Charles and Anne, who were born when she was still Princess Elizabeth, Andrew was the son who came along when the Queen had reigned for the best part of a decade. 

He was named after his paternal grandfather, the dissolute gambler Prince Andrew of Greece, who saw little of his son Prince Philip and died penniless on the French Riviera.

'The Queen knew the ropes by then and was able to give him all the time that Charles says he didn't get,' says a former courtier. 'She so loved looking after him she even curtailed her foreign travel.'

At bath time, she put on an apron and bathed him and she would rock him to sleep. At Windsor Castle he was allowed to race his bicycle down its wide corridors and play skittles along them while his mother dealt with her red boxes of government papers.

On Saturdays at teatime he would sit with his parents — Charles and Anne were away at school — watching the BBC's Grandstand sports programme on television.

'Such maternal closeness has never changed,' says a former lady-in-waiting. 'The Queen always forgave him when he was a child, and his blunders when he was older. They are just as close today as they ever were.'

All of which explains what one friend describes as 'Andrew's despair at what he has inflicted on his mother.'

The greatest shame on his 60th birthday stems from the certain knowledge that, whatever his shortcomings, his mother will always forgive him. 


Four pupils at Prince George and Princess Charlotte's school in London are placed in isolation over coronavirus fears .
he children, who attend the Thomas's Battersea school in London, have been sent home and are awaiting test results.The children, who attend the Thomas's Battersea school in southwest London have been sent home and are awaiting test results, it was reported this evening.

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