”’ But that, of course, is not something the Queen ever does in her notoriously uncommunicative family.She leaves her children to go their own way for good or ill.But the revelation that he also hung out with American billionaire and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, looks like a stinker too far.Downing Street sources say that his role as UK trade envoy is now in doubt.I believe the future of the monarchy demands the presence of somebody at Buckingham Palace who fills the function, even if they do not have the title, of a chief executive.It is long overdue for somebody, instead of merely bowing and curtseying to the princes, to convince them that, unless the Royal Family sustains collective discipline and dignity, its whole future is threatened.Prince Edward made his rash ventures into film-making and his wife naively tried to become both royal and a public-relations mogul.I have argued here in the past that the Prince of Wales’s lunges into sensitive public controversies will end in tears and possibly even in a constitutional crisis.
Among her children, however, only Princess Anne seems to understand the sort of personal behaviour that is necessary to secure the monarchy’s future for the next 60 years.
Everybody else long ago passed beyond mere doubt to a firm conviction that a man as bereft of judgment, taste and discretion as the Prince should not be authorised to represent Britain abroad.
I once heard Willie Whitelaw, Mrs Thatcher’s much-loved deputy prime minister, describe Prince Andrew as the most ill-mannered young man he had ever met.
Their belief that the rules and conventions that constrain the rest of us simply do not apply to them is bred in the bone.
Prince Andrew is almost as ruthless as his elder brother, the Prince of Wales, in dismissing from his counsels anyone who tells him things he does not wish to hear.
Above all it reflects the fact that, for all the Royal Family’s description of themselves as ‘The Firm’, professionalism and grip are consistently lacking from the way they run their affairs.