As established, Prince Andrew’s friendship with the dead rapist pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, and how he badly handled his interview with BBC Newsnight is the biggest crisis the British royal family has faced in decades. Andrew, for sure, and deservedly, is taking most of the heat, but his ongoing f-ckups have led to increased scrutiny about the monarchy, its stability, its value, and how it’s held accountable. And whenever those questions come up, it’s a major problem, because it’s a challenge to its very existence.

There is one member of the royal family, however, who’s enjoyed a long stretch of positive coverage over the last couple of years and, if there’s one winner out of this Andrew mess, it would be his big brother, the heir to the throne, Prince Charles. But the pro-Charles campaign began well before. It was Charles who stepped in to walk Meghan Markle down the aisle when she married Prince Harry in 2018 – a good look for him. Charles celebrated his 70th birthday last year on the cover of Vanity Fair, a flattering piece about how stable his life has been the last two decades, what a leadership role he’s taken at the palace, how he and Camilla are the perfect partners, how much more experienced he is in comparison to his temperamental sons. In the last year, all the gossip in the UK has been about the drama between his two children. He, meanwhile, hasn’t taken all that much sh-t for it, at least not in the media. 

That brings us to the Trouble with Andrew and in particular what’s gone down these past few weeks. Charles was away when the Newsnight interview happened and aired. First it was reported that the Queen approved of Andrew’s appearance. Now they’re backtracking on that and clarifying that she knew he was up to something but did not endorse a sit-down interview but the fact that they’re running damage control suggests that they know that maybe be an issue for Her Majesty’s reputation. Has she overindulged her beloved second son? If he “hoodwinked” her into getting permission for this interview, does that mean he can easily manipulate her? Does this speak to her judgment? Can she continue to lead her family effectively and responsibly? 

Balance that with what we’ve been hearing about Prince Charles, who was said to be consulting with the Queen while on tour in New Zealand and who strongly advised that Andrew should be sacked. Charles is now home and reportedly, upon arriving, went to Sandringham immediately to see his father, Prince Philip, supposedly to continue discussions about how to handle all this Andrew f-cksh-t. So it’s Charles who’s seen to have acted decisively where Andrew is concerned. And Charles who’s being portrayed as the one who’s leading the crisis management efforts; Charles who is, according to the British media, preparing to become “Prince Regent”, the “shadow king” finally stepping into the sun. 

This is all speculation so far as the Queen is 18 months away from her 95th birthday, but royal watchers are now wondering if this Andrew debacle has accelerated Charles’s ascension. If that’s all true, well, every resource will be dedicated to that priority. It’s all coming up Charles.