Although it seems hard to believe today, Prince Andrew was once a well-loved figure. Handsome and with an appetite for the opposite sex, which earned him the nickname Randy Andy, he cut a fine figure while serving as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War.
When he and Sarah Ferguson first wed, their informality seemed like a refreshing change from the stuffiness associated with the royal family.
Over time, however, the informality turned to rudeness, and as his marriage broke up and his naval career came to an end, he became a narrow-minded man whose interests rarely expanded beyond golf, videos, and women.
In 2001 he was appointed the government’s trade officer, a position he held for ten years until his friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was exposed and he was forced to resign.
When he first landed the role, even those who are privately critical of him said he really tried.
Many of those who used to work for the prince remain surprisingly loyal to him.
“It often felt like we were against the world,” said one.
Although it seems hard to believe today, Prince Andrew was once a well-loved figure. Pictured: Andrew is greeted by the Queen as he returns from the Falklands War
Andrew flew as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War in the 1980s
All the critical reporting – about his shady friends, his penchant for private jets – “didn’t understand the work he was doing and the good he was doing. It was very difficult to change the image people had about him.’
There were letters from CEOs “of companies thanking him for helping solve a deal that had been stuck in Qatar or Central Asia for years.”
They say he was a good team leader who cared about his employees. But he could be gauche, and worse. Much worse.
While some ambassadors appreciated Andrew’s presence, others did not. Sir Ivor Roberts, a former ambassador to Rome, said the Duke was sometimes “abusive to the point of rudeness”.
Simon Wilson, former British deputy chief of mission to Bahrain, once delivered a scathing assessment of Andrew’s efforts as official trade envoy. He was known, he said, as HBH – His Buffoon Highness – and would ignore advice, make inappropriate jokes and regularly refuse to stick to the agreed-upon program.
At Buckingham Palace, Andrew made little effort to be pleasant to household members. One worker said: “He was just awful – very happy to pick up the phone and yell at whoever answers.”
Prince Andrew has been seen in public for the first time since the Queen’s funeral in Windsor last week
A senior courtier recalled: “He was not easy to deal with as an adviser. He was really very arrogant. This arrogance could stem from a lack of self-confidence. He’s not bright at all.
“The fact that he lashed out and was very rude to advisors like me was due to a complete lack of confidence, and [an awareness] that he could always run to his mother and say, “They’re all mean to me.”
Once he did just that. Just before an engagement in Richmond Park involving the Queen and the Duke of York, it started pouring rain and helpers discovered that no one had thought to bring an umbrella for the Queen .
Half an hour before her arrival, her press secretary, James Roscoe, went outside and found a group of Army officers who were there to meet Her Majesty.
He walked up to the youngest, a captain, and said: “I know this is ridiculous but do you mind just trying to find an umbrella for the Queen and ideally someone to hold it and walk beside her can?”
At that point, Prince Andrew strode up to them, pointed his finger at Roscoe’s face and said: “Who the hell are you to ask these men to find your damn umbrella? You go and find your own goddamn umbrella.’
He stalked off and a slightly shocked Roscoe said to the officer, “Look, can you get me an umbrella?” He has.
About a week later, Roscoe spoke to the Queen about something else, and she said, “In Richmond, did you ask the Duke of York to get you an umbrella?”
Andrew, it seems, had considered that swearing at his mother’s press secretary wasn’t a good sight and decided to share his version of events first, just in case Roscoe should complain about his behavior.
Roscoe said to the Queen, “What are you thinking ma’am? Do you think I asked the Duke of York to fetch an umbrella?’ There the matter was settled.
This wasn’t the only time Andrew was incredibly rude. On one occasion, a senior courtier was asked by the Prince’s aide Amanda Thirsk if they could help dissuade him from a particular course of action he was trying to follow.
When they cautiously raised the issue with Andrew, his reaction was immediate – and spectacular. “Get the fuck out of my office,” he said, “and get the fuck out of my life.”
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