Prince Andrew’s planned presence at next week’s World Economic Forum has fallen under scrutiny from a number of English leaders, as the Duke of York continues to wrestle with the controversy stemming from his link to billionaire child molester Jeffrey Epstein.
Should He Stay Or Should He Go?
British leader Norman Baker, a Liberal Democrat MP and former Home Office minister, said the prince should "keep a low profile" and skip attending next week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "I think it would be helpful if he wasn't going because of the furor which is surrounding him at the present time, which may well be very unfair,” Baker told the BBC. "I don't know and nobody does know. But I certainly think when we represent our country abroad, whoever we are, we have to bear in mind how that will be received at any particular point." A Commons business committee has also implied the prince should pass on the summit, as his scandal would distract attention from the business-oriented purpose at hand. The prince’s involvement in business has already been impacted by his Epstein association, as he resigned as the U.K.’s trade envoy four years ago after his link to the sex offender made headlines. A royal source previously told the BBC the "resilient" prince would "move on and push ahead" in the crisis situation.
Regrets, He Has A Few
Prince Andrew, 54, has privately acknowledged it was “foolish” to continue his association with the sex offender Epstein, and regrets triggering such a “deeply uncomfortable” situation for Buckingham Palace, a source close to the prince told the Daily Telegraph. “It would be crass and disingenuous to suggest that he has been unaffected by this,” the insider said, noting that “the consequences of that friendship” have sunk in as he takes in the widespread media coverage of the story. The prince raised eyebrows four years ago after a public meeting with Epstein in New York, and the source said the prince is somewhat helpless in defending himself, as any sort of legal action could potentially tarnish his family with further scandalous headlines. “What alternative does that leave him?” the source asked. “He could come out and give an interview to fight it in the court of public opinion, but the denials have already been categorical and cover every detailed allegation that has been put to him ... clearly there is frustration on the Duke’s part.”
The Blind Eye Of Justice
Juan Alessi, Epstein's butler for more than a decade, told Mail Online that Scotland Yard bodyguards who accompanied the prince to Epstein's Florida mansion looked the other way at the ongoing wrongdoings under the convicted sex offender’s roof. “Epstein's Florida mansion appears to have resembled a five-star brothel -- and Epstein behaved like a pimp,” an insider linked to royal security told the outlet, adding that “protection officers should have advised the Duke to leave immediately” after assessing the situation. The insider said the guards likely did not want to ruffle royal feathers and potentially put their paychecks in peril. “They can sometimes forget they are working for the police,” the insider said, “not the royal household.”