Prince Andrew’s flat and emphatic denial of any complicity in abuse of a minor in 2001 suggests just how seriously Buckingham Palace is taking the resurfacing allegations about his sex life.
I first posted on this affair just over two years ago. The circumstantial and affidavit evidence now available in a new Court case accusing Jeffrey Epstein of pimping minors for the sexual gratification of himself and others is nothing more than consistent with the charges that sent him to jail four years ago. What remains a mystery wrapped up in socialite privilege is how Epstein managed to spend just 13 months in the poky, when trafficking charges such as those usually carry 10-20 year sentence guidance in US Courts.
In the original 2012 Slogpost, my primary motive was to wonder what powerful people with sexualities as varied as Prince Andrew and Lord Mandelson were doing in the regular company of Mr Epstein. At the time, I used the word ‘paedophile’ in the main subhead to the piece, a term I now regret: if anything, since then such evidence as has emerged suggests, once again, that the Prince Andrew is more a sort of sad groper of ladies whose age was indeterminate. I’m happy (nay, relieved) to draw a heavy veil across what Petra Manglesum might’ve been up to. But the fact is that the Palace has specifically denied the Prince’s association as follows (my italics):
‘…for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue’.
Such allegations as exist regarding the royal son and an attractive young woman are technical: the age of consent in Miami is 17. Myself and hundreds of millions of others around the world would not regard that as abuse of a minor, and definitely not paedophilia. But I do suspect the Palace may have dropped a clanger by issuing such a studiedly specific denial. Quite a lot of testimony (I’m led to believe) does allege that during the 2000-2003 period at least, Prince Andrew did have sex with underage girls, and that these were supplied by Jeffrey Epstein. Whether he knew their age or not is, sadly, immaterial: saying that this specific allegation is ‘categorically untrue’ could yet prove to be a hostage to fortune. For one thing, I understand that at least one prosecution witness will bring compelling evidence to light about Andrew’s personal role in trying to get Epstein a lenient sentence.
As regards Epstein himself, it’s clear he was a pimp for those with a penchant for the nubile – be they male or female. The leniency of his sentence remains for me a disgrace, but that’s about it: the bloke is clearly (and well known to be) something of a slimeball. During the pre-trial period in 2010, witnesses were threatened, and some accusers had to be offered FBI ID concealment programmes.
Equally, I suppose that, if one plays the numbers game to subtract accusers’ ages now back to the 2000-2003 period, it is technically possible that Epstein was having pre-pubertal (ie, paedophilic) relations with one or more of them. But we’ve been on this merry-go-round too many times over the years for me to put much faith in the word of those who stand to gain materially. Reluctantly, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.
However, my central point remains the same: Prince Andrew’s choice of friends (and women) has never been altogether wise. And there remains the widely denied but clearly factual basis for some kind of ‘D-Notice’ deal negotiated by Andrew’s brother Charles soon after the Coalition came to power. Although the Slogpost of the time was much pooh-poohed, the later officially legal suppression of the royal heir’s letters to former Ministers supported the original piece entirely.
The issue here isn’t really Andrew’s predelictions such as they might be: the central core bitch I have (as always) is with the privilege and immunity subterfuge routinely practised by the Establishment – be it royalty, the titled, unelected money, media ownership or Cabinet influence that is perverting the course of Justice. I may have come to doubt many bogus charges of paedophilia, but there is something about two cases – the Epstein affair and Elm House – that smells to High Heaven.