Once again Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is in the media this week for all the wrong reasons. The prince's former wife, Sarah Ferguson, may have leaped to his defense this week over the "sex slave scandal," but it appears that the prince may not have been so loyal to his ex-wife. In what will undoubtedly be a blow to Ferguson, the Daily Record reports today that claims have emerged the prince and his pals repeatedly "mocked" her.
The allegations are made by Virginia Roberts, the woman who is believed to have made claims that Prince Andrew had sex with her while knowing that she was a minor. Roberts claims she was being kept as a "sex slave" by Prince Andrew's friend and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Roberts claims that she was present in Ghislaine Maxwell's home with Prince Andrew and Epstein whilst the trio slated Ferguson.
She said, "We all sat down for tea and biscuits, conversing in idle talk. Ghislaine knew well of his ex-wife, Ferguson, whom they called Fergie, and began slandering everything from her weight to how she dressed. Andrew and Jeff chuckled along to her wry comments, occasionally throwing in a jab or two of their own."
The Mirror reports today it is likely that further damaging allegations against Prince Andrew will emerge in the coming days. A judge ordered Epstein's lawyers to come up with "extraordinary circumstances" as to why the names of key figures --including the prince, who lobbied on his behalf in a plea bargaining case -- should be kept secret.
If they fail, it means Prince Andrew's alleged efforts to protect 61-year-old Epstein could be revealed in full, sparking major embarrassment for Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family. It is claimed in legal papers that Prince Andrew used "his powerful political and social connections to secure a favorable plea deal."
A story in today's Belfast Telegraph suggests that Buckingham Palace must look back with fond regret to the innocent days of the early 1990s, when Prince Andrew was the subject of affectionately raucous headlines after a photograph of him skinny dipping appeared in the Sun.
Prince Andrew's 10 years as Special Trade Representative to the British government was dogged by controversy. The prince earned the nickname "Air-miles Andrew" as a result of his propensity to make journey's by helicopter that could easily have been made by car.
The prince was criticized over his relationship with Colonel Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam. He had a holiday in Tunisia, paid for by Tarek Kaituni, a convicted Libyan gun smuggler. The prince hosted lunches at Buckingham Palace for Sakher el-Materi, son-in-law of the now-deposed Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who was later investigated for money laundering.
Prince Andrew was variously nicknamed "Randy Andy" and the "Playboy Prince," after a series of alleged relationships with the likes of Koo Stark, Courtney Love, and Jenny Frost from Atomic Kitten.
The Belfast Telegraph closes its piece by claiming that according to royal historian Robert Lacey, when the Queen was planning a "second round" of children, after Charles and Anne, Prince Philip suggested that "the last thing the world needs is more royal mouths to feed."
This might look like unexpected prescience from the royal consort, or simply a shrewd understanding that a massive allowance, limited responsibility, insufficient duties, and an ingrained sense of entitlement are a potentially explosive combination.