In January, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Andrew could no longer use an HRH title in front of his name, more than two years after the prince stepped down from his role as a working royal. In the same statement, the palace announced that he would be fighting his legal battle with Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre as a “private citizen.” By the time Andrew settled the civil suit with Giuffre in February, for a reported 12 million British pounds, he was as isolated as he had ever been — and he even deleted his remaining social media profiles. If anyone would have the reason or ability to live off the grid, it would be Queen Elizabeth‘s beleaguered middle son.
But so far he has not been able to shake the spotlight, and after reportedly muscling his way into a front and center role at last week’s memorial service for his father, Prince Philip, the prince’s name is in the press again. On Saturday, Sarah Ferguson made a series of Instagram posts that claimed to carry messages from Andrew, her ex-husband and current roommate at Royal Lodge. In the captions of three different photographs, Andrew told of his experience in the Falklands War.
By the next day, the posts had disappeared, and a source close to Andrew told The Telegraph that they “may have been taken down over fears they would not be well received.” According to the BBC, the first version of Andrew’s sign-off was corrected, as it initially read “HRH The Duke of York,” a version of the title he is not allowed to use. Following the correction, it simply read: “The Duke of York.” Ultimately, it’s a sign that the prince is still fighting to maintain a public role, long after Prince Charles reportedly urged him to give it up for good.
Andrew’s return to social media came just days after an investigation in The Telegraph detailed his connections to a fraud case currently unfolding in the British High Court. In a series of articles, the newspaper detailed a court case between Nebahat Evyap Isbilen, a Turkish multimillionaire who fled due to political persecution, and her former financial adviser Selman Turk, a Turkish financier. According to court documents, Isbilen is accusing Turk of defrauding her out of 39.37 million British pounds and alleging that more than 1 million British pounds of that sum went to Andrew and his ex-wife.
The newspaper reports that Isbilen sent 750,000 British pounds to Andrew’s account on November 15, 2019, just over a week after Turk and his online banking start-up won an award at Pitch @ Palace, a Shark Tank–Style event at Buckingham Palace hosted by Andrew’s charity. Isbilen claims she also attended the event and was later directed to send Andrew the money because Turk said he had helped her acquire a new Turkish passport. The court documents indicate that Andrew did not actually help Isbilen secure a passport, and it is unclear what Andrew was told about the money when he received it. The newspaper later reported that bankers were told it was a wedding gift for Princess Beatrice.
In an affidavit filed alongside Isbilen’s initial documents, Jonathan Tickner, partner and head of commercial litigation and civil fraud at London-based law firm Peters & Peters, said the firm contacted Andrew about the transfer last year in a letter, but he “declined” to discuss the matter. But according to The Telegraph, the 750,000 British pounds have been returned.
When contacted by the newspaper, representatives for Andrew declined to comment. A spokesperson for Ferguson said, “The duchess was completely unaware of the allegations that have since emerged against Mr. Turk. She is naturally concerned about what has been alleged against him. “
Though Andrew is no longer an official member of the palace establishment, his continued presence in the headlines is, it would appear, causing divides behind the scenes. On Thursday, Us Weekly reported that Prince Charles “disagreed” with the decision to allow Andrew to attend the memorial, but Queen Elizabeth does not want his input on handling the scandal. “Elizabeth is irritated with Prince Charles for giving his opinion where it is not wanted,” a royal insider told the magazine. In a recent report for the Times, a photographer who attended the ceremony said he was told not to capture an image of Andrew escorting the queen to her seat in the front row. The order was eventually reversed.
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