Prince Andrew, Duke of York, KG, GCVO, CD, ADC(P) (Andrew Albert Christian Edward; born 19 February 1960), is the second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
He is currently fourth in line to the thrones of 16 countries.
He is resident in and most directly involved with the United Kingdom, the oldest realm, while also carrying out duties in and on behalf of the other states of which his mother is sovereign.
He also holds the earned rank of Rear Admiral in the Royal Navy, in which he served as an active duty helicopter pilot and later instructor in helicopter flight.
He came under fire during the Falklands War. As well as carrying out various royal duties, he currently serves as the United Kingdom's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.
He is not paid for the latter and any annuity paid to him under the Civil List is fully reimbursed by The Queen.
He has offered realistic and perceptive observations on Anglo-American diplomacy; his conclusions concerning the US occupation of Iraq are not dissimilar to the revised opinions of President George Bush in his auto biography.
A British MP, Paul Flynn, is complaining because he can't use the House of Commons whenever he wishes to attack the Duke of York.
“As things stand, I’d have more chance of discussing it in the North Korean Parliament, or in Ceausescu’s Romania,” he says.
This is of course completely untrue. Mr. Flynn surely knows this. He gives every suggestion of being, as we Australians put it, a whinger. He is not being gagged. As an MP he has the enormous advantage that when he speaks in the House he does so without any fear of being sued.
But there can be no free-for-all. The House has rules as to when he may do this.
...peace, order and good government...
The standing orders of the Australian Parliament also placed limitations as to when a member may criticise another member, a judge, the Governor General or The Queen.
No doubt other Parliaments modelled on Westminster do this too. This doesn't mean that Mr Flynn can never criticise the Duke of York. But he has to do this in speaking to a formal substantive motion which he is perfectly free to put.
It seems that Mr Flynn was rightly restrained by the Speaker from mentioning the Duke of York in a discussion on whether there should be a ‘competitive recruitment process for the job of the UK’s special trade envoy’.
If such a competitive recruitment process were established, one would assume that the recipient would receive a substantial salary - which the Duke of York does not.
Presumably, Mr Flynn will have little more to add than the unsurprising fact that the Duke has had expenses over the years while fulfilling his duties. Or that someone says he was rude on some occasion in some distant land. Or that in the course of his duties he has met some people who have subsequently been shown to be or who have been reported at the time to be rather unsavoury.
In other words the stuff of tabloid gossip.Indeed if the latter were a criticism it would apply to most diplomats and Ministers of the Crown.
In the meantime the Duke seems to have considerable support in relation to the fulfilment of his duties from people who would know. There has been some criticism, but which public figure does not attract this?
This is a report in a new section on the ACM site, "Prince Andrew".
Visitors wishing to access this section can click on this icon on the frontpage. Prince Andrew, Duke of York, was invested with the insignia of a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order by his mother on Saturday 26 March 2011 at Windsor Castle. The two then took tea together.
The honour, which was established by Queen Victoria, was offered as a thank you to Prince Andrew at the time of his 51st birthday last month.
....20 business leaders rush to defend Prince...
In the meantime Rebecca English reports in the London Daily Mail (8/11) that a group of 20 of Britain's most senior businessmen have mounted a vigorous defense of Prince Andrew's much-maligned role as a UK trade envoy.
The 20-strong group, which features the chief executive of HSBC, former Conservative Party treasurer Michael Spencer and the chairman of Lloyd’s of London, have put their name to a letter calling for the under-fire royal to retain his post as so-called Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.
The campaign against Prince Andrew is a classical example of what we in Australia call a media “beat-up”.
A “beat-up” is a media report that has been sensationalized and made to seem more significant than it really is.
[ In the Falklands ]
A special category of beat-ups involves a tired and vindictive practice indulged in by lazy elements in the media. Usually directed at members of our Royal Family, we call this as “caricature journalism”.
The first step is to paint the chosen target as a caricature.
In Prince Philip’s case, this has centred on taking obvious examples of humour, received as such, and then categorising these as “gaffes.” The caricature is that he is "gaffe prone".
The journalist ask someone what the Prince just said, usually a witty comment and then beat this up as the latest "shock gaffe". I expect that a computer programme will soon be developed to do this.
Those journalists given to producing beat-ups on matters royal are often known as “royal watchers”
Bruce Elder recently revealed the secrets of royal watching.
“Apart from rare interviews with members of “The Firm” (the royal watcher's argot for the Royal Family), it is all surmise, speculation, guesswork, fantasy, widely available but unsourced gossip and innuendo.
“Having worked many years with a colleague who was a royal reporter (and a rogue, to boot), I know that a lack of hard evidence never meant a lack of engrossing copy."
Notice that even the gossip and innuendo is not that of some exclusive circle. It's widely available. So why is it published? Because this junk sells.
That of course does not make it true.
It is not news. It is just surmise, speculation, guesswork, fantasy, and widely available but unsourced gossip and innuendo.
..republican royal watchers...
Some royal watchers have a political agenda to remove the Crown from our crowned republics. One such Australian royal watcher used to write an occasional column in which he was described as a “republican royal watcher”.
This was in a well known Australian on line news service whose founder admitted that he did not worry whether what he published was true. His idea was to publish first and see what the reaction was.
As the republican royal watcher curiously hates the object of his interest, his purpose is malevolent and it is unremitting.
It is to destroy the institution. In the vacuum that the Crown would leave, the republican royal watcher hopes to see a significant increase in the power and role of their political media class in a politicians’ republic.
In 2008 a former Minister in the New South Wales government was found guilty of 28 offences relating to sexual assault of a minor, indecent assault and supplying heroin and cannabis.
Some of these offences were committed in Parliament House Sydney. None of his parliamentary colleagues and friends was ciriticised. It is reasonable to assume they did not know of his activities.
But if the principles the tabloid press and the republican movement are seeking to apply to Prince Andrew also governed the former NSW Minister, the cabinet should have resigned.
That of course is a ridiculous conclusion.
[ Nobody else knew ]
In the course of performing their duties, diplomats and politicians will come into contact with leading figures in other countries. Some of these will be governed by authoritarian and even dictatorial regimes, and some will be corrupt.
Such contacts will involve social aspects. In many countries it is impossible to do business without receiving and offering hospitality. So it is rare that diplomats and politicians are criticized for contact including social contact with persons who are later found to be unsavoury.
No one is suggesting that the Duke of York knew that Jeffrey Epstein had solicited an underage girl for prostitution, as no New South Wales Minister knew that one of their colleagues was seducing youths by offering them drugs.
Prince Andrew is being accused of errors of judgment; he is expected to have a degree of hindsight not expected of anyone else.
And although the Duke holds no position in Australia, predictably the local republican movement has jumped onto the tabloid defamation bandwagon.
You would think that the republican movement would spend their time more usefully working out what republic and new flag they are proposing.
[ In active service]
The Duke is the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. He has served his country in the armed forces, coming under fire during the Falklands war.
He could do nothing but he is trying to achieve something of benefit to the nation. He is not paid for his many duties, but naturally his expenses are covered. He is fourth in the line of succession, but receives no income from the Civil List.
So why is he being criticised when diplomats and politicians usually are not? Why is this criticism being made publicly , and why are commentators and others jumping on the bandwagon? Some of the stories are wrong or exaggerated. Two meetings do not constitute a friendship, and his December meeting with Epstein was the first in four years.
Why is there one standard for Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. Prince Andrew and another for, say, the former Prime Minister Tony Blair?
There may be an argument that children of the Sovereign should not undertake such roles. If they are to be so limited, what should they receive in return?
Prince Andrew receives an annuity from The Queen the terms of which concern only Her Majesty and His Royal Highness.
This "reporting" bears all the signs of a beat-up.
Two years ago Prince Andrew argued much of the post-invasion chaos in Iraq could have been avoided if President George W. Bush's administration had listened more to the British.
Now it seems the 43rd President agrees. In his memoirs, Decision Points, he concedes that while the invasion was well handed, significant errors were made in the occupation.
"If you are looking at colonialism,” Prince Andrew told Stephen Castle of The New York Times ( 4 February, 2008) “if you are looking at operations on an international scale, if you are looking at understanding each other's culture, understanding how to operate in a military insurgency campaign - we have been through them all," he said. "We've won some, lost some, drawn some.
[ Prince Andrew serving in the Falklands War ]
The fallout from Iraq had fuelled, the Prince argued, "healthy scepticism" toward what is said in Washington, and a feeling of "why didn't anyone listen to what was said and the advice that was given.
"After all, he told The New York Times, British views had been sought - "it's not as if we had been forcing that across the Atlantic."
Stephen Castles reported that the Prince’s view that is there is quite a lot of British experience which is valid and should be listened to is widely shared in Britain.
Geoff Hoon, the former British defence secretary, has said that British views on Iraq were ignored in the decisions to outlaw the Baath Party and dissolve the Iraqi military.
People will remain divided about whether the invasion was lawful or appropriate. As to the invasion itself, George W. Bush argues many of the dire contingencies did not take place.
“There was no Fortress Baghdad, no massive oil field fires, no widespread starvation, no civilian massacre by Saddam, no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attack on our troops and no terrorist attack on America or our allies.”
He had reservations not only about the banner “Mission Accomplished” but more importantly the orders issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority.
One was the extent of the de-baathification decree which removed members of the ruling party from positions of influence.
It seems Ambassador Bremmer did not fully appreciate that in dictatorships people are obliged to belong to the ruling party or its fronts, or are enrolled there against their will. How often do we read The Pope was as a school child a member of the Hitler Youth Movement, without the note that so were all children.
The other was the decree to dissolve the Iraqi Army.
These two orders effectively took out the organs of government, including instruments of public order and in the schools. The British experience was as far as possible to leave such structures in place, and to work through them.
Prince Andrew was right.
...43rd President's memoirs...
The memoirs of President George W. Bush memoirs can be purchased at a special price (post and handling free) here ( the recommended retail price in Australia, according to The Australian, is $59.95)
"Decision Points" are the extraordinary memoirs of America's 43rd president.
Shattering the conventions of political autobiography, George W. Bush offers a strikingly candid journey through the defining decisions of his life. The publisher's fuller description follows.