Prince Andrew spent the weekend at the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, promoting his Pitch@Palace initiative. Here he is posing with Mr Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Prime Minister of Vietnam. I’m including it because it reminds me of an email I got last week from a reader called Deborah who noted that “the Duke of York looks exactly like Peter Pettigrew." I’m dead. 


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Here’s video of Andrew speaking at the event. He’s not the most scintillating orator but the point they’re trying to make is that he’s a statesman, a diplomatic asset. Which, I mean, might be challenge right now, upholding that image, considering that, well, that’s not what we think of when Prince Andrew comes up in conversation. What we think of, especially now, is that he was friends with Jeffrey Epstein, the dead rapist pedophile, and continued to be friends with Epstein even after he served a prison sentence for solicitation of underage prostitution and became a Registered Sex Offender. 

Prince Andrew and his team have been getting more and more (pathetically) creative in how they’ve tried to downplay Andrew’s involvement with Epstein. They’ve used the Fat Finger Defence. They’ve tried to say that Andrew only saw Epstein that time in 2010, after his release from jail, to break up with him in person, so as not to ghost him; Andrew’s a good guy, you know? And just last month, it was reported that Andrew had hired a “spin doctor”, a communications specialist to help him repair his reputation and rehabilitate his image – Jason Stein was formerly special advisor to British politician Amber Rudd and is known to be a PR “master of the dark arts”. 

Jason Stein has now apparently quit after less than a month. He has a new job, and his friends are telling the media that he had nothing to do with the fat fingers or the other strategies put forward by Prince Andrew’s team to discredit the claims against him and the woman who are making them. 

Well that’s kind of a big story, isn’t it? Whenever William and Catherine and Harry and Meghan lose staffers, it’s always headline news, meant to suggest that they’re assholes to work for, the kind of people who demand that all the flowers in the house only have white petals, or something. It creates drama where there’s often no drama – and here we actually DO have drama, so much drama! 

Prince Andrew, beloved second son of Queen Elizabeth, whose relationship with a dead, maybe murdered sex trafficker has been under scrutiny loses a member of his crisis management team, his “spin doctor”, in less than a month and it’s not on the front page …aren’t we curious about why? Isn’t it fair to at least wonder if the situation with Andrew is so bad that even a “master of the dark arts” can’t spin it in a positive direction? How bad could it be if a PR expert specialising in scandal has to walk away?