For those who played truant when literature and physics were taught, the title implies a parallel with Richard III, the protagonist in both Shakespeare’s play and the mnemonic for the colours of the spectrum.
The parallel doesn’t work on all levels, even though Richard and Andrew were both war heroes. One could resort to feeble puns by suggesting that Andrew’s battle cry was “A whore, my kingdom for a whore!”, but that would be pushing it.
First, the kingdom isn’t Andrew’s to barter away. Second, if his Newsnight interview is anything to go by, he has never had the slightest interest in ladies of easy virtue. Third, I told you it was a bad pun, didn’t I?
One does wonder why HRH decided to do that interview in the first place. He said his aim was to clear the air. Others say it was to lay a smokescreen. They all agree that neither objective was achieved.
And both groups refuse to believe HRH, much to my dismay. What’s there not to believe?
Andrew was friends with Jeffrey Epstein, but that doesn’t mean they had the same predilections. Penelope and I are closer than Andrew and Jeffrey ever were, yet our tastes differ. I like oysters; she doesn’t. I like my white wine cold; she likes it practically at room temperature. I drink vodka with Russian food; she drinks champagne.
Thus, though Jeffrey liked pubescent girls, it’s illogical to insist on Andrew’s guilt by association. Especially when he tells us he never sampled the goods on offer at Epstein’s residences, other than room and board.
HRH stopped talking to Epstein in 2006, which shows laudable prudence. After all, Jeffrey was at the time investigated for having sexually abused 36 underage girls, and Andrew didn’t want to be tarred with the same brush.
Then Jeffrey served a 13-month sentence in prison, and it would have been unseemly for a prince to visit him there just to maintain friendly contacts. So far so good.
When Jeffrey was released, Andrew displayed commendable loyalty by resuming their friendship and his use of Epstein’s townhouse in Manhattan.
Granted, he couldn’t have helped noticing many nubile girls, otherwise known as jailbait, floating through the premises. But, as he truthfully stated, he paid no attention to that backdrop.
Andrew didn’t connect those young ladies with Epstein’s having just served a term for paedophilia. After all, he was used to having staff around. So he naturally assumed that’s what those girls were and left it at that.
That brings into question the hiring policy at Buckingham Palace. Somehow I doubt Her Majesty employs a bevy of scantily clad nymphets to move about the palace with nothing to do. But then Andrew lives there and I don’t, so don’t listen to me.
One of the erstwhile nymphets, now 31, claims Andrew not only noticed her, but in fact knew her intimately. As proof of that insane allegation, she has produced a photo of Andrew with his arm around her waist and his hand on her bare midriff.
The interviewer asked HRH about the picture, and he honestly said he didn’t remember it being taken. No problem there: I don’t remember when and by whom every photo of me was taken, do you? What better proof does one need?
Was the photo perchance a fake, persisted the inquisitive interviewer, repeating the claim previously made by Andrew’s retainers. I can’t prove it is, nor that it isn’t, replied the prince, to my satisfaction. If that’s not an exculpating statement, I don’t know what is.
Anyway, when Jeffrey came out, and both his friendship and hospitality again became available to HRH, the bond between the two men blossomed again. Except that apparently prison hadn’t had its universally expected rehabilitating effect on Jeffrey.
He kept reoffending and being charged, which was more than HRH could bear. Driven by his royal sense of propriety, he decided never to speak to Jeffrey again.
To make sure the paedo got the point, Andrew chose to make it in person, rather than by phone or letter. As he explained, the decision was based on his exaggerated sense of honour, and, as someone whose own honour is rather understated by comparison, I applaud him with admiration.
To make the point even more telling, Andrew then spent four days in Epstein’s mansion, which stands to reason in view of his decency. HRH is too sensitive a man to have given it to Jeffrey cold turkey. It was much kinder to soften the shock by revealing the message gradually, bit by wounding bit.
As to then attending a party at Epstein’s place, Andrew explained that he didn’t do parties. The next day all papers were full of photographs of Andrew boogying the night away at different stages in his life.
That was a woeful misunderstanding of what HRH had actually said. What he meant was that, as a member of the royal family, he didn’t do political parties, which is consistent with his constitutional role.
Then the ex-nymphet also claimed that Andrew had sweated profusely when dancing with her before taking her to bed, and the interviewer had the bad taste to bring that up. That gave HRH the chance to remind us of his war record.
When I fought heroically for our country in the Falklands, he explained, I produced so much adrenaline that my sweat glands shut down. Now, even though anhidosis is usually caused by diabetes or alcoholism, ‘usually’ is the operative word.
Who’s to say the condition can’t also be caused by Argie bullets? As to the numerous pictures showing HRH dripping with sweat on many a dance floor, that’s ridiculous to mention in the age of Photoshop. Give me five minutes, and I’ll give you a picture of an Egyptian mummy sweating bullets.
To cap it all, today’s papers display 60-point headlines screaming “Andrew used the n-word”. I read on, expecting a revelation that the word had come up during HRH’s audience with Nelson Mandela, but was bitterly disappointed.
Apparently, he merely referred to a possible pitfall as “a nigger in the woodpile”, which expression only became taboo a few years ago. I agree he should have said “a person who identifies as someone of Afro-Caribbean descent in the woodpile”, but he chose brevity over probity.
I can’t blame him, though I’m in favour of expunging every hint of the offensive term, in words like ‘niggardly’, ‘niggle’ and ‘renege’. That means we’ll have to rename Nigeria, the Niger River and my friend Nigel, but the task wouldn’t be beyond us.
Meanwhile, let’s leave the Duke of York alone. He shouldn’t have given that interview, but he acquitted himself with the courage of a Falklands hero and the honesty of George Washington.