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Andrew and Ghislaine were ‘in some sort of relationship’
Ghislaine Maxwell had “unrestricted access” at Buckingham Palace, and a former royal policeman claims he and other colleagues thought she and Prince Andrew had an “intimate relationship” that went beyond friendship.
Paul Page, who served the royal family as an armed protection officer between 1998 and 2004, told The Sun Online that Maxwell “was allowed to enter and exit the Palace night and day at will. Myself and my other colleagues formed the opinion they were in some sort of relationship.”
Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in jail earlier this week for trafficking underage girls for Epstein, becoming his first and only accomplice to be convicted and sent to prison for facilitating his underage sex ring. (Maxwell denied the charges against her.) One of those young women was Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed Andrew raped her while she was underage on three separate occasions. Andrew emphatically denies this, but settled a civil case with Giuffre out of court—thought to have cost him, and the queen, £12 million ($14.5 million).
Page told The Sun Online he had seen Andrew and Maxwell having an “intimate picnic… right outside the queen’s bedroom window. So from that point on, I was under the opinion they had some form of intimate relationship.” There were “highly unusual” instructions to never put Maxwell’s name in the palace’s visitors’ book, Page added. “We assumed they didn’t want any evidence of her visiting the palace, perhaps because she was (media magnate) Robert Maxwell’s daughter—it wouldn’t have been a good look.”
Instead, Page said, “We would wave her in and she would go straight to the quad and straight up to the Duke of York’s apartments. She had access like no other individual outside the Royal Family. She was on another level.”
Page was repeating claims he made in an ITV documentary in January. “From the way she was allowed to enter and exit the palace, at will, we realized … suspected, that she may have had an intimate relationship with Prince Andrew,” he told Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the Pedophile. “A colleague of mine remembered her coming in four times in one day from the morning till the evening—she kept coming in and out, in and out.”
Charles faces yet another financial scandal
Prince Charles is enmeshed in a new cash-for-honors controversy, just a week after it was reported he accepted millions of pounds in cash contained in suitcases and bags.
Today, the Sunday Times reports that Charles gave an honor to Lord Brownlow, a Tory peer, after Brownlow spent £1.7 million ($2.05 million) on property acquisitions at Charles’ failed sustainability-focused village of Knockroon in Scotland. Brownlow’s deals are now being investigated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Foundation, also allowed Brownlow to use Dumfries House, his country estate in Scotland, as a venue for Brownlow’s 50th birthday, and awarded Brownlow’s company a £1.2 million ($1.4 million) construction contract, the Times reports. In 2013 Charles appointed Brownlow, who has an estimated fortune of £271 million ($328 million), to be a trustee of the Foundation.
“Brownlow was very influential, but it was felt that he was not an entirely benign influence on the prince,” a palace insider told The Times. “He had myriad conflicts of interest. His judgment was wayward. This certainly came up in conversation with the prince.”
Brownlow, the Times reports, spent £1.7 million ($2.05 million) purchasing 11 Knockroon properties and converting them into rentals and a café. The Prince’s Foundation did not declare any of the purchases as “related party transactions.”
“This is a standard measure used to guard against perceived conflicts of interest and to demonstrate that trustees knew that money was going to someone who had existing ties to the charity,” the Times reports.
The Prince’s Foundation also awarded a series of contracts to Brownlow’s company; “as a trustee, Brownlow had oversight of the sale of properties and awarded contracts to his own company,” the paper says. In 2018, Charles personally oversaw Brownlow being made a Commander of the Victorian Order (CVO).
A Prince’s Foundation spokeswoman told the Times: “Lord Brownlow was appointed CVO in 2018 in recognition of his role of chair of the charity The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community.” As for his 50th birthday bash being held there, the spokesperson told the paper: “Dumfries House is a beautiful country estate which has for many years been available to members of the public to hire for special events. The proceeds are plowed back into the Prince’s Foundation to support its charitable work.”
“Chairpersons of charities closely associated with the royal family are often appointed to the Royal Victorian Order to thank them for their public service, on completion of their tenure,” a Clarence House spokesperson said.
The latest scandal follows last week’s revelations that Charles was personally handed a suitcase containing €1 million (just over $1.05 million) by a politician representing a rich, oil-producing Arab statelet.
“It was one of three lots of cash, totaling €3 million ($3.2m), which Prince Charles personally received from Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar who is nicknamed ‘HBJ,’ between 2011 and 2015,” the Sunday Times reported.
Late last year, Charles lost his key aide Michael Fawcett, who was forced to stand down from Charles’ foundation after it was revealed he arranged an honor for a billionaire Saudi donor, explicitly in return for donations. Charles denied any knowledge of the transactional arrangement, but a reported police investigation into the matter has provided no answers, being discreet to the point of invisibility.
Prince Harry pointedly accused his father of being involved in what he described as a “scandal” over the affair.
Queen’s new lighter-duty role now official
Queen Elizabeth delighted crowds not just at the celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee, but also more recently in a series of public engagements in Scotland. The on-the-day decision of whether her health and mobility will allow her to attend certain things is now a new, flexible normal—and a neat way for the queen to surprise everyone every time.
Alongside this, the Sunday Telegraph reports that the queen’s official role “has been rewritten by Buckingham Palace,” no longer referring to duties she “must fulfill” as monarch, and entrusting more to Prince Charles. The palace’s annual report now doesn’t include events like the State Opening of Parliament—this year undertaken by Prince Charles and a thunderously pissed-off looking Prince William previously considered necessary by “constitutional convention.”
As Head of State, the queen’s role now doesn’t include a specific set of must-do constitutional duties, instead referring to “a range of parliamentary and diplomatic duties.” Her role of Head of Nation will be carried out “where appropriate or necessary.” The new, looser definitions mean her various duties can be more easily delegated to other members of the royal family.
The great unknown, as displayed in Scotland (with Prince Charles alongside her), is what the queen will turn up to next. After she made her climactic appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony, she released a statement which made clear the queen remained “committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.” Now official palace rules officially enshrine this sentiment—no abdication, yet at least, but rather the queen-being-queen for as long as she feels able with ready back-up from the fam.
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Andrew still has official royal role
He has most of his official and military titles removed, but Prince Andrew is still a personal aide-de-camp to the queen, according to the Sun on Sunday. The role is a gift of the queen, and also held by Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Edward. The role is one of a personal assistant to the monarch, granted to members of the royal family and senior officers in the armed forces.
A source told the Sun: “The fact Andrew is still an aide-de-camp is clearly a matter for the Queen. However, a few eyebrows have been raised that he should still hold this position but not the others.”
Royal commentator may sue pranksters
Victoria Arbiter, royal commentator and daughter of former royal communications chief Dickie Arbiter, says she may sue pranksters who elicited an interview from her about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Oprah Winfrey interview before it had been broadcast.
Claiming to have lost thousands of pounds in earning and suffered lasting damage to her reputation, Victoria Arbiter told the Sunday Telegraph: “I just want to clear my name and for them to apologize and be accountable for what they did. They set out to have a laugh and make some money and in the process destroyed my life as I knew it. If it wasn’t for my family and friends I don’t know what the eventual outcome would have been.”
The video showed Arbiter saying comments like, “She [Oprah] did ask the tough questions, she had to ask the tough questions… But at the same time I think she did ask those questions in a sympathetic light.” Arbiter told the Telegraph the selective editing of the video meant it did not show her not commenting on things she could not have yet known about.
Pranksters Archie Manners and Josh Pieters did not return the Telegraph’s requests for comment.
Charles and Camilla hire new PR chief
Given every week brings a new scandal, it’s perhaps excellent timing that Charles and Camilla have a new communications chief. The Sunday Times reports that Tobyn Andreae, deputy editor of the Daily Mail, has been appointed in the new role. His job is to get the public considerably more juiced up about Charles becoming king than they currently are—although before that it may fall to Andreae to neutralize any more stories about his boss accepting suitcases of cash, or giving away honors to donors.
This week in royal history
On July 9, 1982, Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace, and confronted the queen in her bedroom—an infamous royal moment fictionalized in the fourth season of The Crown. Fagan first got inside the palace in June 1982, via shimmying up a drainpipe, then staged his second invasion the following month (also scaling a drainpipe), when he came face to face with HRH.
Prince Charles is becoming the new royal family scandal magnet, with a string of reported transgressions when it comes to his financial affairs and honors. Can he weather the storms, or will they ultimately stymie his ascension to the throne?
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