Prince Andrew‘s misguided belief he would one day return to public life was instilled in him by close advisers who assured the fallout of his sex abuse lawsuit would ‘all blow over’ in due time.
He was brought back down earth during a one-on-one meeting with his brother, the then Prince of Wales, in the days before the Queen‘s death on September 8.
The Duke of York was left ‘bereft’ and ‘tearful’ when Charles told him, in no uncertain terms, that his days as a working royal were over.
At the time, a source told the Mail on Sunday ‘Andrew was totally blindsided’ and ‘utterly bereft. He always believed there was a way back’.
Now, a new report by The Times alleges Andrew’s closest advisers and confidantes had instilled that belief in him.
A source said advisers vowed to ‘get him back to work’ and repeatedly provided optimistic briefings about his sex abuse lawsuit and links to convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
The Duke of York was left ‘bereft’ and ‘tearful’ when Charles told him, in no uncertain terms, that his days as a working royal were over
‘Andrew was extremely close to the Queen and tried to raise the issue of his return to public life many times with her,’ a source told the Mail on Sunday
Andrew has denied being close to Epstein, who killed himself in jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.
Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, is currently serving 20 years in a Florida jail after being found guilty last December on child sex trafficking and other charges.
And it appears some within his circle still believe a reputation rehab is possible – particularly after his accuser Virginia Giuffre ‘extraordinarily’ backed down on her sexual abuse claim against lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
Paul Tweed, a media and libel lawyer who has known the Duke for many years, told The Telegraph: ‘I wouldn’t slam all doors just yet.
‘The battle has moved from the court of law to the court of public opinion but I don’t think anything is insurmountable.’
Ms Giuffre’s admission that she ‘may have made a mistake’ about Mr Dershowitz prompted some to question whether there was any possibility she could have been mistaken in her accusations against Andrew, too.
The Duke of York (pictured) believes he could ‘still be of value’ as a working member of the Royal Family
The Duke of York was photographed with then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts. In the background, Ghislaine Maxwell
The duke initially planned to contest the allegations in court, but later decided to settle the civil case in February for a reported £12 million without accepting liability.
It’s understood he made this decision under the assumption it would allow him to return to Royal duties.
Andrew has long denied a close friendship with Epstein (pictured)
His mother, the late Queen, also reportedly failed to explicitly tell him there would be no way back to public life.
‘Andrew was extremely close to the Queen and tried to raise the issue of his return to public life many times with her,’ a source said.
‘On some occasions she would say mildly conciliatory things but most of the time she would change the subject immediately to avoid talking about it.’
As a result, he was slow to see what the remainder of his family – and the public – had recognised for months.
‘Until the face-to-face meeting with his brother, Andrew believed that there was a way back – that somehow he could be rehabilitated and play a role in The Firm going forward,’ the source said. ‘He came out of the meeting shaken. He is still in shock. He is completely lost and very depressed.’
In the meeting, Charles – who was not yet King – said: ‘Go off and have a good life, a nice life, but public life as a Royal is at an end… You have to accept this. ‘
Andrew, 62, was stripped of his military affiliations and Royal patronages in January after he lost his bid to quash a civil lawsuit in America brought by Epstein’s former ‘sex slave’ Virginia Giuffre, who claimed she had been forced to have sex with the Duke.
He was barred from wearing his military uniform during the Queen’s funeral but was allowed to wear it at the private vigil after Charles took pity on him and relented
The Duke vehemently denied her claims but, at the time, Buckingham Palace had said that the decision to strip Andrew of his titles was made by the late Queen.
He was barred from wearing his military uniform during the Queen’s funeral but was allowed to wear it at the private vigil after Charles took pity on him and relented.
Since the funeral, the man who was once dubbed ‘Air Miles Andy’ because of his frequent trips abroad has been confined to his home, Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park.
He has occasionally been spotted riding in Windsor Great Park but has become a ‘virtual recluse’, according to a source, who adds: ‘He has no idea what the future holds and has no real plans. He is struggling to accept this is the end of the road for him as a Royal. It is all he has ever known.’