It has been a huge mistake for Prince Andrew to give this interview about Jeffrey Epstein. That seems to be the consensus from royal watchers and PR experts.
Obviously a huge mistake for him personally, because it was just hard to believe him. His excuses, his body language, his rationalisation of his continued friendship with Epstein; it just didn’t ring true.
But mainly, and this is the most important part really, this is hugely damaging to the entire royal family brand. They can’t really afford this at the moment, not with the entitled behaviour coming from Harry and Megan. The last thing they need is bad press like this.
The damage to the royals is two-fold. Firstly, Andrew has managed to draw attention to just how out of step with reality royalty can be. He comes across as unbelievably arrogant and entitled.
Asked why he went to stay at Epstein’s house for four days after Epstein gets out of jail for sex offences, his answer is that it was the honourable thing to do go and see Epstein in person to break up the friendship.
He’s asked why it was necessary to stay at Epstein’s house. He says it was a ‘convenient’ place to stay. He’s asked if he regrets having a friendship with the man given what’s come out, and says not really because he learnt a lot from the people Epstein introduced him to.
He’s asked if he felt any shame at being associated with Epstein and he answers ““Do I regret that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? Yes.” Unbecoming - that’s a heck of a way to describe sex offending.
And importantly, it’s damaging to the royals because the Queen’s gone out on a limb for Andrew. You might remember mid-August, she showed her support for Andrew by being photographed with him in her car on her drive to church.
It was the day after Epstein was found dead and only days after new allegations had surfaced about Andrew. That kind of thing doesn’t happen by accident. The Queen would’ve agreed to it.
So now she’s given her public support to him, he’s gone and done an interview that makes him at worst look shady and at best look aloof, entitled, arrogant and out-of-touch.
People are outraged. They’re calling for him to stand down from positions like the chancellorship at Huddersfield University.
Question now is: what’s the Queen going to do. Wait it out, or do another photograph showing how she feels about this?