In January 2022, Queen Elizabeth made an unusual statement, stripping her son Prince Andrew of his royal patronages and banning him from using the HRH title. Andrew had been under scrutiny for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein for years, and had even stepped down from his official royal duties in 2019, but an unprecedented civil suit filed by Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre meant that a royal might have to be a part of a sexual assault case in the United States. (In February, Prince Andrew reached an out-of-court settlement with Giuffre, stating that he “regrets his association with Epstein” but denied the sexual assault allegations.)
To understand how Andrew became one of the biggest threats to the monarchy—and why he became friends with Epstein and his associate Ghislaine Maxwell in the first place—this episode of DYNASTY: The Windsors goes all the way back to the beginning. Cohosts Katie Nicholl and Erin Vanderhoof describe the royal family dynamics of the 1960s and 1970s, when Andrew got a reputation for being an unruly prankster. Also up for discussion is the period of time in the 1980s when Andrew, fresh off of serving in the Falklands War, became a tabloid fixture and one of the main stars of the royal story. Guests Michelle Ruiz, Vanity Fair contributor, and historian Andrew Lownie describe how the pressures and freedoms of being a royal spare led the prince to make a few crucial mistakes in his early life.
Finally, with the help of award-winning journalist Julie K. Brown and royal expert and former editor in chief of V.F. Tina Brown, we dive into the story of Andrew’s life in the early 2000s. How did he meet Epstein? Did financial issues influence his decision to befriend a host of characters outside of the traditional royal orbit? And most importantly, why do there continue to be reports about his plans to make a comeback?
Listen to the episode in the player above, and don’t forget to tune in next Tuesday, June 21, when DYNASTY: The Windsors returns with its season finale, a deep dive into the life of Prince Charles, his triumphs, his controversies, and his plans for the future of the monarchy. Is he the right man to face the Windsors’ challenges in the 21st century? Subscribe at listen.vanityfair.com/dynasty or wherever you get your podcasts.