Peacock’s latest documentary, Prince Andrew: Banished, refrains from giving the Duke of York any sympathy.
The 90-minute show explores the disgraced royal’s fall from grace after a series of his scandals and misdeeds that had been ignored for years were slowly revealed. In secret, the prince maintained close friendships with convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. He was also accused of sexually assaulting and abusing a minor, which eventually caused Queen Elizabeth II. she stripped her son of military titles and royal patronage.
Put simply, Prince Andrew’s downfall was “a scandal that rocked the royal family”. For the outcast-turned-Playboy Prince, “his title protected him,” but “his recklessness exposed him,” according to the documentary.
“Prince Andrew: Banished” features narratives from royal experts, palace insiders and members of Prince Andrew’s social circles, along with journalists and authors who have covered – and tried to expose – the royal tea. Commentary and stories are also accompanied by archival, never-before-seen footage.
Here’s a closer look at the Prince Andrew scandal and its aftermath:
Prince Andrew was born in 1960 and is the younger brother of King Charles III. and the third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth II. and Prince Philip. Growing up, Andrew was loved very much by his mother – so much so that he was known as her favorite child – which increased his sense of privilege and entitlement. The prince’s public image was also affected by his frivolous dating habits, which earned him many nicknames. And because of his place in the line of succession after Charles, they were often referred to as “heir and replacement” (much like William and Harry were nicknamed).
According to a timeline from The Guardian, Prince Andrew joined the Royal Navy as a trainee helicopter pilot in 1979 and studied at the Britannia Royal Naval College. In 1982 he served in the Falklands War and on HMS Invincible — a Royal Navy ship — as co-pilot of a Sea King helicopter. Two years later, the prince was promoted to lieutenant and served as the Queen’s personal aide.
In 1986, Prince Andrew was officially created Duke of York by the Queen. He also married Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson after his bombshell 18-month relationship with actress and photographer Koo Stark was disapproved by the royal family. After 10 years of marriage, the prince and his wife separated on May 30, 1996.
Andrew’s relationship with Epstein and Maxwell
In 1999, Prince Andrew was introduced to Jeffrey Epstein through a mutual friend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. The prince met Maxwell when she was a student at Oxford University, and their subsequent close relationship led many to believe they were dating.
In his infamous 2019 BBC Newsnight interview, Prince Andrew said he saw Epstein “once or twice a year, maybe three times a year at the most and quite often if I was in the United States doing things…”.
He added: “However, it would be quite a stretch to say that he [Esptein] he was a very, very close friend. But he had an extraordinary ability to bring extraordinary people together, and I remember going to parties where you would meet academics, politicians, people from the United Nations, I think it was a cosmopolitan group of what I would have wanted. described as American Eminents.”
According to the Daily Mirror, flight records show that Prince Andrew flew with Maxwell and Epstein in February 1999 aboard Epstein’s private jet to Little St. James, the financier’s private Caribbean island. That same year, the prince reportedly hosted both Epstein and Maxwell at Balmoral Castle, according to a model who also attended the trip and later recounted to the Daily Mail.
In February 2000, the trio were spotted at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida before Prince Andrew and Maxwell attended a fashion show together in New York. On May 12, 2000, the prince, along with Maxwell and supermodel Naomi Campbell, flew Epstein’s private jet to his Palm Beach estate, where Epstein and Maxwell allegedly molested and sexually abused underage girls and young women.
On June 21, 2000, Epstein and Maxwell attended a joint birthday party hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle. Dubbed the Dance of the Decades, the event “honored four royal birthdays including Prince Andrew’s 40th,” according to the BBC. Prince Andrew also told the paper that Epstein “was there at his invitation, not the royal family, but he was somewhat of a ‘plus one’ to Mrs Maxwell.”
The following day, Prince Andrew and Maxwell were seen attending Royal Ascot together. Then, in September 2000, the pair attended the wedding of the Prince’s ex-girlfriend, Aurelia Cecil, in Wiltshire. On October 31, 2000, Prince Andrew and Maxwell attended Heidi Klum’s Halloween party in Manhattan. And in December 2000, Prince Andrew hosted both Epstein and Maxwell for what he claimed was just a “straight shooting weekend”.
Allegations of sexual assault
On August 9, 2021, Virginia Giuffre filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew under the Child Victims Act. As a teenager, Giuffre worked as a dresser at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where she met Maxwell, who invited her to Epstein’s Palm Beach home to train as a massage therapist.
According to the BBC, Giuffre said she was abused by Epstein and was later “passed around like a bowl of fruit” among his high-ranking associates. In 2001, at the age of 17, Giuffre said Epstein took her to London and introduced her to Prince Andrew. After going to a nightclub, Giuffre said Maxwell told her that she “had to do for Andrew what I [Maxwell] do for Jeffrey.”
“It was a really scary time in my life… I wasn’t chained to the sink, but these powerful people were my chains,” she continued.
Giuffre claimed that the prince sexually abused her three times — first at Maxwell’s home in Belgravia, London; then at Epstein’s home in New York and at “orgies” on his private island.
“As the suit details, I was sold to him and sexually abused,” Giuffre added. “I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from responsibility for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but to reclaim your life by speaking out and you will demand justice.”
In an interview with BBC Newsnight in 2019, the prince said he “doesn’t remember ever meeting this lady. [Giuffre]none at all” when asked about the allegations against him. He vehemently denied all the allegations and firmly maintained that he did not remember meeting Giuffre, although his first meeting with her was photographed.
“No, I don’t remember ever meeting her, I almost, in fact, I’m sure I’ve never been to the Tramps with her,” he said when asked about his sexual encounter with Giuffre at the Tramp nightclub in London. “There are a number of things about that story, one of which is that I don’t know where the bar is at Tramps. I don’t drink, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink at Tramps whenever I’ve been there.”
Prince Andrew’s interview with the BBC was an attempt to exonerate him and clean up his image, but the plan ultimately backfired. What came next was his public downfall and estrangement from the royal family.
Andrew steps back
In response to the backlash from his BBC interview, the Prince announced that he would be “stepping back from public duties”.
According to a statement obtained by People, he said: “Over the past few days it has become clear to me that the circumstances surrounding my former association with Jeffrey Epstein have become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support .
“Therefore, I asked Her Majesty if I could step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she gave me permission.
On January 13 this year, the Queen stripped Prince Andrew of his military titles and patronages during a trial. Although he can no longer be addressed as “His Royal Highness”, the Prince can still use his title of Duke of York and retain his position in line with the throne. However, royal experts said “King Charles has no plans to include him in the future of the monarchy,” according to Variety.
As for the lawsuit, on February 15 Prince Andrew reached a settlement with Giuffre in which he paid the plaintiff an undisclosed amount of money and made a “substantial donation” to her charity to support victims’ rights. According to court documents filed in New York court, Andrew also said he regretted his association with Epstein.
Despite the consequences, Prince Andrew may face further consequences involving his two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. Royal expert Sky New Australia announced on Wednesday that King Charles may have stripped the princesses of their royal titles because of their father’s friendship with Epstein, which had a “disastrous impact on their royal future”.
“Prince Andrew: Banished” is currently available to stream on Peacock. Watch the trailer below, via YouTube:
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