Posted on 19th February 2022

I was asked earlier in the week whether I had any sympathy for Prince Andrew. The short answer is No and I might add if there is any sympathy due it is for his mother, the 95 year old British monarch who unfortunately is looking increasingly frail. Everything I have heard about Prince Andrew over the years is that he is arrogant, entitled and full of his own importance. He also has displayed an appalling lack of judgement in the company he has kept. His relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell went beyond toxic. Some of his other friendships are, at best, questionable.

Distant view of Slane Castle

I have to say I find it laughable that he is now going to work with charities that deal with sex trafficking and other forms of abuse. What charities would have him ? So for the foreseeable future the Duke of York, resident in the luxury of Royal Lodge, will cut a forlorn figure but he will at least have his collection of teddy bears to keep him company. He still has the FBI to answer to and there will be public pressure to reveal how he has paid for the settlement. On the subject of money, there is another nightmare for the Queen and in this instance it involves Prince Charles, the heir to the throne. Scotland Yard has launched a criminal investigation into what has been dubbed a Cash for Honours scandal. It seems British citizenship and a knighthood was promised to a gentleman called Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, a Saudi billionaire who donated money to royal charities including the Prince’s foundation. It does look like Prince Charles may well have been unaware of what was going on, as the paper trail leads to Michael Fawcett, who was then Chief Executive of the Dumfries House Trust, one of the Prince’s charities. Fawcett has a bit of a reputation. He started off as a footman to the Queen but then became a valet to Prince Charles and at one stage he was responsible for squeezing toothpaste on to the Prince’s toothbrush. Over the years he made himself indispensable to Prince Charles, although he was not exactly popular amongst the rest of his staff. He acquired the nickname Fawcett the Fence for selling unwanted royal gifts. There have been resignations and reinstatements. In 2003 he even secured a £500,000 severance package. It is hard to say where this latest scandal will end up but even if it transpires that the Prince knew nothing about what Fawcett was up to, his continuing relationship with this man raises serious questions about his judgement. So far no such questions arise about Price William, and Kate is playing a blinder. Ultimately the monarchy requires public support to survive, Prince Charles has his flaws but I think with Camilla at his side he is capable of being a good King.

From a future king to a thug. What is the President of Russia up to ? The diplomatic shuffle to and from Moscow, with the meeting between Macron and Putin at either end of that vast table being particularly ridiculous, Germany dependant on Russian gas, the City of London and the property market benefitting from an influx of Russian funds, photos of Boris in a tank. Good God there is a real prospect of war with thousands of casualties. It is obscene.

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