Last week, it was announced that the Metropolitan Police would take no action over allegations – raised in the US courts – that Prince Andrew was involved in the abuse of a minor. This decision will come as a surprise to absolutely no-one.
This is the third time that the Met have looked at the case; and, despite interviewing the woman at the centre of the allegations, Virginia Guiffre, they have once more decided not to risk taking the case further.
Given the recent scandals that have consumed the Met and its boss Cressida Dick, they clearly decided to turn a blind eye to Prince Andrew’s activities, rather than draw further attention to possible crimes by members of the British establishment.
This approach has served them well when dealing with the Royals and the upper-class establishment over the years. We are, after all, talking about Her Majesty’s police force.
The British state and rich elite always close ranks to hush up their indiscretions. In this case, the ‘Thin Blue Line’ is holding back an ocean of scandal from engulfing the monarchy: a highly valuable institution to the ruling class.
By contrast, thousands of working class people have been arrested by the police over the years on the slimmest, or even fabricated, grounds – especially black youth.
It has been almost 20 years, for example, since the wrongful life imprisonment of the so-called Cardiff Five: a group of black and mixed-race men falsely accused of murder following brutal police interrogation.
One may wonder just how much evidence is needed to get the police to take action when it comes to the rich elite.
Following the conviction of the police officer who raped and murdered Sarah Everard, Dick announced that “no one is above the law”.
But the case of Prince Andrew has exposed the hollowness of these words: clearly there is one law for the rich and royalty, and another for everyone else.
If this wasn’t galling enough, the Queen is now allegedly paying millions to cover her son’s legal fees. Apparently she is using her ‘private funds’ to protect an alleged pedophile from justice – ‘private funds’ that are all ultimately leached off the public purse.
Should Prince Andrew reach a ‘private’ settlement, we may never find out how much taxpayer money will be used to hush up these allegations.
The scandal around Andrew has been going on for years. At the heart of this sordid affair was the close ties between the prince and convicted paedophile socialite, Jeffrey Epstein.
Even after Epstein was jailed in 2008 for soliciting and procuring minors for prostitution, this friendship continued. Epstein was later re-arrested and charged with a whole raft of offences, dying in mysterious circumstances in jail in 2019.
The case against Andrew centres around an alleged relationship between the prince and a then-17-year old American girl called Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Guiffre).
She was one of a series of underage girls procured by Epstein and his then-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell – picked up for their own sick pleasure, or offered up to a litany of other ‘high society’ abusers. Maxwell is currently in a US jail awaiting trial over various sexual offences.
A now-infamous photo shows Andrew with his arm suggestively around Ms. Roberts’ waist, apparently in Maxwell’s home, whilst the latter looks on approvingly from behind.
The attempts by Andrew to ‘disprove’ the damning evidence of the photo, in a car crash interview with Newsnight, would have been laughable had the subject matter not been so nauseating.
First he claimed that he had no recollection of the photograph ever being taken, nor having ever visited Maxwell’s residence. And moreover he could not have had sex with Roberts that evening, he asserted, because he was at a Pizza Express in Woking with his wife (the Duchess of York) for a children’s party.
He went on to suggest the photo might somehow have been fixed, which he bizarrely ‘proved’ by claiming the perspirant figure in the image could not be him because of his inability to sweat!
At this point, the Royal Family (aka The Firm) took the decision to take Andrew off the pitch and effectively require him to withdraw from public life.
The Met’s decision not to proceed with their investigation must be the only bit of good news to have come Andrew’s way in recent months.
The US court case is pressing on, with Andrew now having to accept that he has been served papers by a US court official. This followed multiple attempts to avoid being served, with process servers repeatedly being turned away by security at his Royal Lodge doorstep.
He is now putting all his hopes in a possible legal getout relating to an earlier legal agreement made between Guiffre and Epstein’s lawyers. In a word, this is not exactly the behaviour one would expect of a man confident he could clear his name in court and who has nothing to hide.
While the monarchy is bankrolling the disgraced prince’s legal defence, he is continuing to be frozen out by the rest of the royals.
According to the Daily Mirror and others:
“A meeting was held last January where Charles, Anne and Edward were in agreement that their brother should never be allowed to return to public life…The source said: ‘Nine months ago Charles, Anne and Edward had a meeting, a summit, and agreed there was no way back for him.’”
Press reports also say that Prince William – the next heir to the throne after Prince Charles – now considers Andrew to be a “danger” to the monarchy. This gets to the heart of what this is all about.
The establishment couldn’t care less about what Andrew has been up to or not. The rich and powerful have been up to their eyes in financial and sexual scandals for decades, while the authorities have turned a blind eye.
They have relied on a combination of English deference and the ‘old boys’ network to keep any hint of scandal out of the public eye.
Only in recent years has this edifice started to crumble, allowing a once-servile press to get digging.
But now, the Royal Family finds its image is in freefall. The recent crisis involving Harry and Meghan – ‘Megxit’ as it was dubbed by the tabloids – was just the latest in a series of troubles to hit the monarchy.
Indeed if you dial the clock back to the scandal surrounding their treatment of Princess Diana in the 1990s, it seems that the Monarchy has been beset with one decade of doom after another.
Whereas once Andrew was seen as just a figure of fun – ‘Randy Andy’ – now he is seen as the worst example of an institution in a terminal crisis.
Tool of class rule
Of course, if this was just about a rich family being used to keep British tourism running, as the Windsors’ defenders are wont to claim, then the establishment would not be worried. They would be an expense that could be offloaded.
However, as Marxists have repeatedly explained – and warned – the monarchy in Britain plays another, more serious role in defending the privileges and rule of the capitalist class.
Earlier this year, in an article titled The Monarchy: a serious threat to the labour movement, we explained how the monarchy has been used in the past – and could be used in the future – to attack the working class and its rights.
As the article notes:
“The common belief is that the state is neutral and acts for the benefit of all, which clearly is not the case. It represents the interests of capitalism. The state, explained Engels, can be reduced to armed bodies of men in defence of private property.
“It is also no accident that the Queen is regarded as ‘above politics’. The monarchy is anointed with an aura of ‘mystique’, independent of classes. It supposedly represents ‘the nation’.
“Therefore, the armed forces swear their allegiance to the Crown, and not to parliament.”
Not just the armed forces, but the whole machinery of state – police, courts, civil service, etc. – are all ready to be mobilised by the ruling class to defend its position, if need be. As the above article reminds us, this is not an idle threat.
The Queen also has a say over what Acts are passed by her government, and is not afraid to exercise that right when needed. She can also dismiss parliament if required by the establishment to do so.
Trotsky put it most clearly:
“Royalty is weak as long as the bourgeois parliament is the instrument of bourgeois rule and as long as the bourgeoisie has no need of extra-parliamentary methods. But the bourgeoisie can if necessary use royalty as the focus of all extra-parliamentary, i.e. real forces directed against the working class.” (Trotsky's Writings on Britain, Vol. 2, pp. 40-1.)
The question is, with all this royal squalor bubbling to the surface, can this institution still be relied on?
When William spoke of a danger to the whole monarchy, he (perhaps unconsciously) expressed a fear that it had become so unpopular that it would cease to serve its intended function as a tool of reaction in the future.
Andrew’s ‘victory’ in getting the Met Police to sit on their hands may well prove to be pyrrhic. Even if he is able to wheedle out of the US court case on a technicality, the damage is already done. Randy Andy is already disgraced – but the whole institution of the monarchy is liked little more than him, and now the Met too are sharing in the shame of a ruling-class cover up.
The job is clear: throw the monarchy, alongside the House of Lords, and all the other feudal corpses into the dustbin of history. And make certain the capitalist system joins them without delay.