Questionable: Photos of Prince Andrew out on the town, and in casual clothes have called into doubt his previous statements, says Roland. Photos: SUPPLIED

From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 1 December

December 1, 2019 BY

Prince Andrew’s guilt or innocence should be determined by a court of law; however, having twice watched his recent cataclysmic television interview, there was nothing about his demeanour, or his answers, which would persuade me to be supportive.

THE precise detail of the sexual abuse allegations levelled against him, and which he denies, categorically, are well known, and one would need to have been living on Mars to be unaware of the swirling and intensifying maelstrom. The Prince’s ill-considered willing, and determination, to submit to a no-holds barred television interview for the BBC, has exacerbated the potentially calamitous ramifications for the Monarchy. In defence of his public relations and media advisors, one of whom has resigned in protest at his involvement, we are led to understand they believed it would be a mistake to undertake the interview. The international public opprobrium proves, unequivocally, they were correct in their judgement. Never, should he have agreed to such an unconventional exchange, the revelations of which surprised everyone, and confirmed much of the on-going conjecture surrounding his dysfunctional private and public life.

An accident of birth has landed him where he is in society. For that he should not be unduly, or unreasonably, criticised. Any appraisal of his life, and public behaviour, should be tempered with fairness; however, in this instance his refusal to accept measured advice has left him wide-open to the most strident and harshest of censure, much of which is, quite reasonably, intentionally personal. The encounter has revealed his offensive lack of empathy, regret, and remorse. He is ludicrously pompous, suggesting we mere mortals look to the royal family for daily guidance in the conducting our dull, mundane little lives.

In what can only be described as a serious aberration, Andrew seemingly imagined his implausible explanations would, by miraculous osmosis, placate the angry court of public opinion and assuage all doubt, thus clearing the deck for his 60th birthday celebrations in February 2020.

The interview is bursting with the most obvious contradictions. To suggest a convicted sex-offender was able to introduce him to all manner of interesting and fascinating people in commerce and industry is risible. With respect, his mother – HM The Queen – has the best contacts book in the world. A command call from the palace is guaranteed to bring anyone scurrying to the privy purse door (it’s the one in the bottom right-hand corner as you stand facing the palace).

Ludicrously claiming a children’s late-afternoon party at Pizza Express in Woking, 50-minutes from London’s West End, precluded him from being in the city later on the night of a specific date, is comical. His home, Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, is a 30-minute drive from the West End.

Evidence from the abuse victim that he ‘sweats and smells funny’ were promptly brushed-aside by his supposed on-going Falkland’s War medical condition, and which several GPs have suggested is problematic.

Andrew questioned the authenticity of a photograph showing him hugging the sexual abuse claimant. Further, he proffered he never wears ‘travelling clothes’ when goes-out in London; always a suit and tie. Numerous photographs have materialised to the contrary. Equally, claims he never hugs in public have been photographically disproved.

Astonishingly, after having not seen Epstein – a convicted sex-offender – for some years, Prince Andrew stayed at his NYC house because it was, in his words, “convenient”! The British Consul in NYC has a wonderful residence where royals can crash whenever they are in town. The wife of the Consul is the daughter of one my childhood friends.

Andrew is so out-of-touch, he believed the interview went swimmingly, and cheerfully took the television crew on a guided tour of the palace. His guilt or innocence notwithstanding, the odious association is both damning and deeply offensive. It is time for Prince Andrew to retire from royal duties; to spend the rest of his life in the quiet contemplation of his inexcusable behaviour. His hubris, coupled with his serious lack of judgement has done irreparable damage to, and brought much shame on, the House of Windsor.

The Queen, after 67-years on the throne, and into the twilight years of a truly remarkable reign, must be wondering where the Crown is headed.

Roland can be heard every Monday morning – 10.30 – on radio 3BA and contacted via [email protected].