Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell and the Palace by Nigel Cawthorne – Review
By Sandra Callard
This is, without a doubt, one of the most explosive investigations to be seen in print in many years, and one of massive importance and interest to the people of England. Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell and the Palace by Nigel Cawthorne is a steady step-by-step, thorough and shocking investigation into the story of the connection between Prince Andrew and the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The story, of course, made headline news the world over, and the said Prince’s disastrous attempt to smooth things over in a face-to-face interview on BBC’s Newsnight backfired on him so badly that it resulted in a universal aversion to, and condemnation of, Prince Andrew; a cessation of practically all of his charity backers; and his forced, and ultimate, withdrawal from the royal scene.
This book sets out in careful detail how close the Prince actually was to Epstein and his alleged enabler, Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell. Cawthorne fearlessly renders the Prince’s responses during his television interview null and void, as he reveals hitherto unknown witnesses, how much of the taxpayer’s money he used for his own purposes, and how he certainly did have a close and lasting friendship with Epstein. He also reveals the world of vice that went on at his various properties in the richest parts of America, and elsewhere in the world, and the lives that Epstein shattered in the process.
The second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Andrew, was a beautiful, laughing child who quickly became the favourite child of the Queen. He grew to be a tall, handsome man who had a way with the ladies, and drew a fan following of girls as big as any pop star. He joined the Royal Navy and fought in the Falklands War, receiving a hero’s welcome on his return to the UK. Andrew could do no wrong. Talkative and friendly, but with a downside of arrogance and superiority that offended many.
“Fascinating and well-constructed book”
In Jeffrey Epstein, he found everything he wanted in a friend: massively rich, multiple properties, women galore – or perhaps that should be girls galore. Epstein, however, was arrested in 2008 and charged with procuring girls for prostitution and was given a very soft “sweetheart deal”, where he was given a private wing at Palm Beach County Facility with his own personal security guard, which cost him $128,000. Andrew was a guest at his ‘welcome home’ party, seemingly oblivious to the dangers of cosying up to a convicted paedophile. The likes of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton (previously close friends of Epstein) had more sense; they dropped him like the proverbial hot potato.
In July 2019, Epstein was re-arrested in New York and charged with sex trafficking, while Government G-men were breaking into his Manhattan house and finding clear evidence of his atrocities. One room had fully fitted cameras trained on every room in the house, including bedrooms, bathrooms and toilets. They had all the evidence needed for a long sentence for Epstein, but Epstein was found dead in his cell on 23 July, hanging from a top bunk. Medical experts were divided as to whether it was suicide or murder.
This is a fascinating and well-constructed book. It is not a long book, but it is just enough for the layman to absorb the many details of the crimes, the reasons Epstein managed to evade jail for so long, and the complicated legal reasons as to how the New York police snared him in the end. Alongside this, of course, runs the incomprehensible reasons why a Prince of the blood royal, of the most famous and historically lasting royal family in the world, would dream of being part of such an iniquitous friendship, although we can probably guess why, much to the shame of Prince Andrew.
This is a dirty story whichever way you look at it, and Andrew’s involvement with such a man for so long speaks legions as to the Prince’s scruples – or lack of them. Only time will tell if the public can forgive him, but the chances are that Prince Andrew will never feel he has done anything that requires forgiving.
‘Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell and the Palace’ by Nigel Cawthorne is published by Gibson Square Books, £20