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Friends of King Charles have poured scorn on Prince Andrew’s latest apparent effort to rehabilitate himself—an avowed wish to devote himself to charity work.
While the king’s office, and sources in the palace declined to comment on new claims made in the Independent that Andrew was seeking to redeem his standing through charitable endeavors, a personal friend of the king’s told The Daily Beast: “Charles has made it clear there is no way back to public life for Andrew. If he wants to go and do charitable work that will be up to him.”
Prince Andrew’s latest optimistic attempt to restore himself to a position in public life, despite having paid a reported $14m to Virginia Giuffre in an out of court settlement over her sex abuse claims, takes the form of his friends claiming that the late Queen Elizabeth wanted to see him undertake a “charitable cause” to smooth a path back to public life in the manner of John Profumo, the British government minister who resigned over an affair with model Christine Keeler in 1963.
“Andrew’s mother suggested the route forward was taking on a charitable cause,” a source close to Andrew told The Independent. “Other members of the family agreed and saw it as his only way to rehabilitation.”
The claim comes despite the queen having given no indication of such a plan while she was living, and having made no public comment in support of a charity work-based future for her disgraced son, from whom she stripped all military roles and charitable patronages ahead of her Platinum Jubilee.
Needless to say, the implication from Andrew’s supporters appears to be that it would be only right for her heir, King Charles, to honor the late monarch’s wishes and get Andrew a few shifts at a Windsor soup kitchen.
The palace, however, are likely to greet the latest bright idea from Andrew’s camp with a weary roll of the eyes, after a series of bizarre briefings to the media on his behalf, including the release of an extraordinary photograph of two adults posing in a bathtub wearing masks of Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre.
The photo was released to help Andrew by Ian Maxwell, the brother of Ghislaine Maxwell, who is serving twenty years for sex crimes. Ian claimed the photograph proved the falsity of Giuffre’s allegation that she got into the bath with Andrew where they had sexual contact. As many commentators have pointed out, it proves no such thing.
There have also been briefings from Andrew’s camp saying he is contemplating contesting his settlement with Giuffre.
“It is hard to see what charities would wish to be associated with Prince Andrew given the toxicity of his reputation.”
Some reports claimed that Andrew was supported by the king in this quest but friends of the king previously told The Daily Beast that was categorically not the case, and that the last thing Charles wanted was for Andrew to “stir the muck heap” ahead of his coronation in May.
It is hard to see what charities would wish to be associated with Prince Andrew given the toxicity of his reputation.
The redemptive template mentioned in the Independent by Andrew’s supporters is, with tiresome predictability, the case of John Profumo, but the contrasts between Andrew and Profumo are many and vast.
A humble and repentant Profumo (Andrew has never admitted guilt and denies remembering even meeting Virginia Giuffre) went to work as a volunteer for the East London Toynbee Hall charity after he was sacked from government, becoming, over the course of many years, its chief fundraiser. After over a decade of work there, he was awarded an OBE by the queen for his work and his reputation was considered by many to have been restored. He continued to work for the charity until his death in 2006.
There is little doubt that the queen adored Andrew, but even the most indulgent mother would have to question whether Andrew really has it in him to do a Profumo—especially as he has spent most of his free time over the winter shooting.