In the wake of Prince Andrew’s catastrophic BBC Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, it’s no surprise that sponsors are fleeing his Pitch@Palace initiative faster than a pack of African wild dogs.
As I don’t watch television, I came late to the party and viewed the interview on YouTube in a state of disbelief. Having trained in crisis PR and quelled many a client disaster in London, I could not understand how communications advisers allowed this interview to go ahead.
Ill prepared, arrogant, shifty, evasive, befuddled, insincere and inhumane are just a few adjectives that spring to mind. I found the Prince’s awkward body language most telling and it was evident that he’d been schooled not to blink or avert his eyes when being asked a particularly incisive question. It didn’t make a jot of difference because Emily Maitlis, cool, calm, confident and professional with the air of a high court judge, cut through his bumbling attempt at justification like a knife through hot butter.
What enraged me most was the buffoonish way Andrew played the innocent by constantly claiming not to remember anything about encounters with sex slave Virginia Roberts, then 17, at Jeffrey Epstein’s homes even when there was photographic evidence. Not once did he express remorse or sympathy for Epstein’s many victims, nor did he say that his friendship with the monstrous financier was a complete and utter error of judgment. Instead, he shrugged and opined that he’d met useful contacts through the convicted paedophile, so he didn’t regret the contact.
I can only imagine that countless heads will roll over this unmitigated royal disaster. Fergie, who has unhelpfully stepped back into the frame like an enthusiastic Labrador pup, to defend him, apparently encouraged him to speak to the BBC. She should have been the very last person he should have sought PR advice from, given her own track record and is only making matters worse.
In the whole ghastly mess one has to wonder how Ghislane Maxwell, the partner of Epstein and Andrew’s good chum, has managed to keep a low profile, and whether Buckingham Palace has a crisis PR plan in place. Already Sir Thomas Harris, erstwhile British Consul General in the States at the time, and potential alibi, has denied ever having Andrew to stay on one of the dates cited. All we need is Pizza Express in Woking to do the same and Andrew might as well wave the white flag.
The Queen and Prince Philip must be reeling in horror. They’ve had to cope with the recent dramas of Harry and Meghan and now have something far more serious to deal with. This has far reaching international tentacles and could potentially damage UK and US relations for many years. A solution has to be found by way of cauterising the mess. Best plan when and if the furore dies down, is to drop him off with Fergie at a very remote island in the middle of nowhere and take away the life raft.
Key to a happy marriage
A ccording to hotel company Travelodge, the way to keep a marriage alive and happy is to leave your partner for five days a month. The survey of 2,000 Britons revealed that 30 to 40 per cent of marriages were extremely happy (I’d question that) but that many couples felt that personal space prevented tensions, arguments and bad feeling. The subliminal implication is surely that we all need to spend five days alone at a Travelodge, a sure way to have one leaping from a bedroom window.
I actually agree with the findings. Isn’t it good to get away now and then from one’s partner to spend some time with the girls, boys or other family members? I love hopping off to London for meetings and catching up with my best friends in town over lunch or dinner or perchance a trip to the theatre. I only go for a few intensive days that are riddled with work meetings but I always feel energised and full of ideas on my return. It also offers a welcome break for my husband who can enjoy his own company, meet up with his local chums and have some peace. It’s always fun to catch up on news on my return.
Most of my friends have time apart during the year. In fact one chum only sees her husband on and off for six months of the year and says it’s the only reason they’ve been married for so long. They both ache for their own space. I suppose it’s a case of each to their own and not one cap fitting all. Even still, however annoying a marriage might be, resorting to five solo days each month at a local Travelodge would surely not prove efficacious? The Ritz, Claridges or the Connaught maybe, but Travelodge, me thinks not!
It’s been reported that 2,300 people in the US are the victims of e-cigarette related lung conditions and 47 users have already died. Vaping is now linked to an assortment of life threatening lung illnesses to the extent that some American states are considering bringing in bans. If you’re an e-cigarette user, maybe do some homework and check out recent reports. Once considered a safer option for smokers, it now seems to be a potentially worse hazard than the nicotine habit itself.
Once again I’m avoiding Black Friday and bunkering down at the computer. I always feel this day is consumerism gone mad and brings out the very worst in human nature. Scenes of hysteria and ugliness in large warehouses and stores with people fighting over plastic chairs and hi-fi equipment fills me with horror. Imbued with Christmas spirit, me? Bah humbug!