The ‘rivalry’ between the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York has been well-documented, but now a TV documentary claims Prince Charles is trying to airbrush his ‘damaging’ younger brother out of the future royal family.
The Channel 5 documentary, The Royal Family At War, airing on Saturday, delves into the complicated relationship between the two royals, and claims that Charles is concerned about ‘ruining the Queen’s legacy’.
It’s no secret that Charles, 70, wants a ‘slimmed down’ monarchy when he eventually takes the throne, with only his immediate family funded by the taxpayer.
But in the documentary, royal insiders allege that in addition to financial considerations, Charles also has concerns over his brother’s public image following scandals, including his friendship with a disgraced billionaire and his ‘Airmiles Andy’ reputation.
‘Charles is worried that Andrew’s behaviour at times is damaging the family firm,’ says royal biographer Penny Junor.
‘There probably has been occasions where Prince Charles has considered Andrew to be a bit of a liability to the royal family,’ CNN royal commentator Victoria Arbiter adds.
According to royal insiders, Prince Charles is concerned that his brother Andrew’s public image could have a negative impact on the monarchy in the future. Pictured: The brothers attending a Service of Thanksgiving to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
The Duke of York has had his fair share of public scandals, including issues surrounding his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. Pictured: The former couple with Princess Beatrice at Royal Ascot in June 2018
‘That image of Prince Andrew being the playboy at large rankles Prince Charles. He finds it embarrassing.
She goes on to suggest that in order to follow into his mother’s footstep, Charles must avoid any more scandals, and keep the most problematic members of the royal family at bay.
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‘Charles does not want to be responsible for ruining the queen’s legacy,’ she says.
Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s former Press Secretary adds that Prince Charles will have been alarmed by previous newspaper reports about Andrew using the royal helicopter to go to play golf in Scotland, for instance.
The slimmed down monarchy of the future: Left to right, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales, her Majesty the Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the duke of Sussex waving at crowds from the Buckingham Balcony during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012
‘It would probably have grated on the Prince of Wales, because he is a firm believe that when you use public money you do the job and come home, there’s no time for playing around,’ Arbiter says.
‘If you want to play around, you do that quite separately and you pay for it,’ he added.
Expanding on Charles’ plans to ‘focus the public eye on the core royal family’, the Queen’s biographer Ingrid Seward, says that this means there’s no place for Andrew and his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie.
Scandals that have dented Prince Andrew’s reputation
Prince Andrew’s former friend, the American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was jailed on child prostitution charges in 2008.
The hedge fund tycoon served just 13 months of an 18-month jail term after reaching an extraordinary ‘non-prosecution deal’ with prosecutors in Florida.
He had pleaded guilty to two counts of soliciting girls as young as 14 for prostitution.
The Prince, who has reportedly known Epstein since the 1990s, was photographed strolling through a New York park with him in 2011 but has since severed all ties.
But Andrew became embroiled in the scandal in 2015 when he was named by a victim of Epstein, Virginia Roberts, in a civil court claim against the billionaire.
The Prince vehemently denied allegations made by Ms Roberts, which a judge described as ‘lurid’ and ‘immaterial’ and ordered to be struck out of the case.
However, the Duke relinquished his formal role as a global trade ambassador shortly afterwards.
Prince Andrew has been dubbed Airmiles Andy thanks to his penchant for using planes and helicopters on official business, for journeys that could be taken by plane or car.
For instance, in August 2018 her commandeered a private helicopter for a day of official engagements that started just 21 miles from his home – at a cost of up to £5,000.
He also used a chauffeur-driven car which took him to a nearby airfield … to fly 54 miles back to his Windsor mansion.
Although the Queen’s son does not receive any official government funding, he does have the cost of his official travel met by taxpayers.
In 2012, the year after he quit his trade ambassador role, The Telegraph estimated he spent £378,000 on travel.
In recent years she’s been welcomed back into the royal fold, but Andrew’s ex-wife Fergie has also caused embarassment.
It led to such bad blood between the Duke of Edinburgh and Fergie that the Duke refused to be in the same room as her in the years since her divorce from Andrew, until a thawing of relations at Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October 2018.
In 1992, the royals were enraged when pictures of Fergie having her toes sucked by her ‘financial adviser’, the Texan oil tycoon John Bryan emerged – the same year she separated from Prince Andrew.
It later emerged that her profligate spending had also left her owing £5million to the royal bank, Coutts. After her divorce she worked hard to recoup the money, representing firms such as Weight Watchers in the US.
For several years she was on an even keel, but a series of bad investments and the collapse of a fledging ‘lifestyle’ company saw her on the brink of bankruptcy again in 2010.
This led to her being caught in a tabloid newspaper sting selling access to her former husband for half a million pounds.
The cash-strapped Duchess was taped accepting a $40,000 (£30,480) cash down-payment to introduce her ex, who then worked as a UK trade envoy, to an undercover reporter posing as an international businessman.
I think Prince Charles feels there are too many of them,’ she explains. ‘There’s too many hangers-on, if you like.’
Victoria Arbiter adds: ‘I think he needs a slimmed-down monarchy in order to remain relevant to future generations, because people do get frustrated with the so-called “strap-hangers” – the people that are being funded by the monarchy but do’t do an awful lot.’
In 2012, during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, only five people made it to her Majesty’s side on the balcony of Buckingham Palace: Prince Charles, his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and his wife Kate and Prince Harry.
Prince Charles admiring his baby brother, Prince Andrew shortly after his birth. Charles is 11 years older than his brother, and rumours of rivalry between them have long been rife
‘It was interesting, because the Queen is only the second monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee after Queen Victoria,’ says Victoria Arbiter
‘So you would expect to see the whole royal family on that balcony, it was a momentous occasion.’
‘There seemed to be a very clear message that this was the future,’ Penny Junor adds. ’That going forward it would be the core family, and that was it.’
The Royal Family at War airs on Saturday at 9pm on Channel 5
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