While the royal family is notoriously tight-lipped about what happens behind the gates of Buckingham Palace, sources close to the crown tell Vanity Fair that there's a clear message regarding Prince Andrew's connections to Jeffrey Epstein and the botched BBC interview with Emily Maitlis. Prince Charles, in particular, is ready to go head-to-head with his brother and make sure that no further damage happens to the family's reputation.
"Make no mistake, Charles is furious. I imagine he will feel that Andrew has let the family down, and that he misled his mother over the interview, and in doing so has compromised the queen," a family friend told VF. "He's not always firm with his sons, William and Harry, but he'll take a tough line with Andrew. He will also be furious that the story has totally overshadowed his working tour, and he'll let rip, but he will have a strategy."
Charles isn't the only one that's trying to do some damage control. Prince William has also addressed the situation with his grandmother and father. A source told the Sunday Times that William thinks that his uncle's swift removal from public life was, in fact, "the right thing" for him to do. A second source added that the prince is becoming more and more involved with royal affairs. As the future king, it's fitting. "William is becoming more and more involved in decisions about the institution [monarchy]," the source said. "He's not a huge fan of his uncle Andrew."
Andrew is doing his own kind of triage. With his name making headlines for the wrong reason, he is ensuring that his daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, aren't connected to the scandal. Both have big plans for the coming year: Beatrice is set to be married and Eugenie is taking on more charity work.
"He knows what's coming from Charles, but his first thought is for the girls and how this is impacting them," Vanity Fair's source continued. "Andrew will do everything he can to protect them and make sure they are looked after, and to his credit, Charles is very fond of Beatrice and Eugenie and has always been kind to them."
Eugenie's main concern is her father's scandal overshadowing her new position at the Anti-Slavery Collective. She is a patron of the organization and VF reports that she has already postponed a planned podcast.
A source who works with Eugenie said, "She has the support of people in the industry. They are not going to tar her with her father's brush, but Eugenie's plan is to lie low."
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On Anti-Slavery Day today, I am proud to announce that I am becoming a Patron of Anti-Slavery International @antislaveryinternational They are an inspiring team who are working tirelessly to end Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking. Founded by one of the original English abolitionists, Thomas Clarkson in 1839, this organisation is turning 180 years old this year and it's an honour to join them in their mission. I met with the team recently and last night joined CEO Jasmine O'Conner and fellow patron Baroness Lola Young. #endslavery #endslaverynow
Princess Beatrice's upcoming wedding is also being put on hold in the wake of the scandal. With a huge production like a royal wedding being put on the back burner, it's clear that all the royals are doing their best to get past Andrew's reported indiscretions as soon as possible.
"I think Charles will realize that William and Harry and the little royal family he wants to create will leave him short of support," the queen's biographer, Sally Bedell Smith, added. "He's going to need to recognize that he can't just rely on his sons and their wives to carry out the vast number of royal duties — he's going to need his siblings Anne, Edward, and Sophie to help with the workload. Beatrice and Eugenie are not working royals, which is what Charles wanted; the Wessex children aren't going to carry out royal duties; and it's going to be a long time before George, Charlotte, and Louis will be old enough to do so."
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