Prince Andrew was heavily criticized when he accompanied his mother The Queen into Prince Philip’s memorial service, but royal watchers were even more baffled to see he used his ex-wife’s Instagram account to post a 700-word statement about his time in the Falklands
Image: NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Prince Andrew’s decision to share a message about his time in the Falklands via his ex-wife’s Instagram page shows how clueless he is to how the public now view him, a royal expert has claimed.
The Queen’s son wrote more than 700 words in three posts on Sarah Ferguson’s social media page, saying he came back from the war “a changed man”.
He signed it off HRH The Duke of York, despite being banned from using the His Royal Highness title by the Monarch after the dramatic fallout from his civil sex case and the scandal surrounding his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. It was later edited to remove the HRH but the posts were deleted completely within a couple of hours.
The post came just days after Andrew raised eyebrows when he walked into Prince Philip’s memorial service arm in arm with his mother, taking a lead role despite stepping back from all official royal duties.
Like many royal watchers, author Robert Jobson was left baffled by Andrew’s Falklands statement and is unsure what he hoped to achieve.
He tells The Mirror: “I am not one of those who slam Prince Andrew because it is the latest – and perhaps easiest – media target.
“When I broke the exclusive story that he would accompany the Queen to the thanksgiving service for Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey, I was more sympathetic than most because I knew the truth.
“Where some supposedly informed reporters were happy to be spoon-feed by Palace spin doctors, I knew it was something the Queen had wanted and asked him to do. She hadn’t, despite the common palace briefed narrative, been bullied into it by her son. Far from it.
“But the Duke of York’s bizarre decision to try to bolster his own image by waffling on about his Falklands war experiences on his ex-wife’s Instagram account and also use the HRH title that has been stripped from him to sign off was an odd move.
“I remember well his bravery in that conflict 40 years ago. He showed death defying courage in a war the claimed the lives of many brave young men.
“I remember his triumphant return too, the picture of the single rose in his mouth. Yes, for him they were better times for the then dashing young prince and serviceman.
“But quite what he was trying to achieve by reminding everyone of them I don’t know. It was weird. It made the duke look more than a little desperate for public recognition.
“I know Andrew is all over the place emotionally at the moment. He is being ably and lovingly supported by Sarah, his ex wife who shares his royal home, Royal Lodge, and his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie.”
Despite returning to the spotlight last week for Philip’s Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey, Robert believes Andrew will never have bounce back insiders say he desperately seeks.
He says: “He needs, in truth, to lay low for now. Any rehabilitation, whilst unlikely, will take time. Personally I doubt it is possible.
“He, despite the multi-million dollar pay off to his sex case accuser Virginia Guiffre, still believes he is innocent but circumstances meant he could not clear his name.
“Millions of others, due to his awful TV appearance with Emily Maitlis and his association with evil sex offender Epstein, believe he is damned.
“His ramblings about the Falklands – where we accept he fought with courage – shows how out of touch he is. He seems clueless about what people really think of him these days – a far cry from those days as the handsome and feted naval officer and pilot.
“It is unclear if this was a shameless comeback pitch or a last hurrah – by reminding people that he was once a war hero.
“But a return to public life for the 62-year-old Xang and It won’t happen.
“Even if the Queen has forgiven her favorite son, and believes in him, powerful figures in the palace corridors haven’t. Not have the public.
“Senior courtiers have made it clear to him and the Queen that there is no way back for him. Many have been briefing against him, as they see it as their duty to protect the monarchy.
“Future Kings Prince Charles and Prince William back that view too.
“I was not surprised when the desperate post was deleted.”
What did you think of Prince Andrew’s statement? Have your say in the comment section below.
Robert also believes that Fergie and Andrew’s decision to work together to share this message gives an insight into the state of their relationship.
He said: “Sarah Ferguson has been among Andrew’s most loyal of friends. Using her Instagram was, however, an error of judgement, perhaps down to her exuberance. She believes in him.
“Perhaps the best thing for them to do is to remarry and find happiness out of the public eye together, and walk away from any hope of returning to represent the Crown in the future.”
In the first Instagram post, Sarah wrote: “I asked Andrew this morning for his reflections on the anniversary of his sailing from Portsmouth to the Falkland Islands 40 years ago.”
Andrew’s account begins: “As I sit here at my desk on this cold crisp spring morning thinking back to April 1982 I’ve tried to think what was going through my mind as we sailed out of Portsmouth lining the flight deck of HMS INVINCIBLE.”
The 62-year-old concluded: “So whilst I think back to a day when a young man went to war, full of bravado, I returned a changed man.
“I put away childish things and false bravado and returned a man full in the knowledge of human frailty and suffering.
“My reflection makes me think even harder and pray even more fervently for those in conflict today, for those family’s (sic) torn apart by the horrors they have witnessed.
“And, i’m (sic) afraid to say, that the historical perspective my short war has taught me is this – war is failure to keep peace; war is failure of human judgement; war is failure to recognize we need to seek permission to understand another persons perspective or reality, whether or not we agree or disagree with that perspective or reality.”
Robert’s latest book, William at 40: The Making of a Modern Monarch, is out next week.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.