Last night the “Grand Old Duke Of York” told the world that he wasn’t a paedophile and instead of having sex with an under-age girl he was having a Pizza in Woking. Normally the “Royals” keep their mouths shut in the face of a scandal, but he decided to break protocol and give his side of the story.
It failed spectacularly. Today’s commentary is awash with people saying he failed to give a convincing performance, didn’t have good enough answers and couldn’t explain away the damning photograph of him with the victim.
Before the interview it was made clear the questions had been vetted by the security services, and was not under any oath, so getting to the “heart of the matter” was going to be impossible. The interviewer Emily Maitlis, tried her best to dig deeper, but left no doubt of her own position by looking deeply uncomfortable throughout.
So is it right to brand him as guilty before even a charge has been brought against him? Clearly he’s lived in a complete bubble throughout his life. He was never the “heir” and just the “spare” for many years until the younger Royals have pushed him down the succession. He was nicknamed “Randy Andy” by the press years ago and has been under a cloud ever since. But is he guilty of something? Can we ever find out? Can a charge of paedophilia ever be brought in a British court where it is The Crown versus …. The Crown? It seems unlikely. Should we therefore presume innocence until guilt is proved beyond reasonable doubt?
But why did he join Jeffrey Epstein’s circle of friends? Surely he knew what was going on? Any self-respecting person would run a mile from a situation where they could be linked to paedophilia, wouldn’t they? Especially after they have been found guilty in a US court. This is not just bad judgement. This is someone who was reluctant to give up a lifestyle that they enjoyed. They stayed friends and hoped that the Royal connection would keep it all hidden. Being part of Epstein’s “gang” was something that should never have come out.
Scandal is nothing new to the Royal family, or to Britain. Boris Johnson’s claim that he did not have an affair with Jennifer Arcuri looks likely to blow open in the next few days. Little is likely to change as a result of these revelations. Soon it will be buried under new stories in the broadcast media’s frantic search for 24×7 news.
But the big question is whether a “normal” person be allowed to get away with the same level of duplicity and survive unscathed. We really should be holding our “leaders” up to the same level of scrutiny as we hold for ourselves and asking of they are fit to hold the office that we, the country, pay for.