Andrew in “deep despair” over Epstein name list
Prince Andrew is “totally tormented,” after learning his name will appear alongside more than 170 of Jeffrey Epstein’s powerful friends and associates—some of whom have not previously been publicly identified—when a tranche of court documents is published in January, the Mail on Sunday reports.
The Mail says Andrew is in “deep despair” at the prospect of the scandal of his relationship with the billionaire pedophile returning to the headlines.
The documents are part of a U.S. defamation case brought against Ghislaine Maxwell by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the Epstein sex-trafficking victim who accused Andrew of sexually assaulting her when she was 17 and who received a reputed $14 million from him to settle the case. (Andrew has always denied her allegations.)
“Andrew’s name is in there,” one source told the Mail on Sunday of the list. “He is beside himself with this latest development and everyone close to him is concerned for his mental wellbeing. He is at a loss, totally tormented. He is facing his second Christmas without his mother and now the New Year is going to start with his name being dragged through the mud all over again.”
The Mail on Sunday says “other names set to be made public in the new documents include Wall Street bankers, business leaders and big-name politicians and academics.”
As The Daily Beast reported, some documents will likely include references to Johanna Sjoberg, who claimed Britain’s Prince Andrew groped her at Epstein’s New York townhouse in 2001 (which he denies); Doug Band, an ex-adviser to former President Bill Clinton; and Cathy and Miles Alexander, the onetime house managers of Epstein’s U.S. Virgin Islands residence.
A source told the Mail on Sunday: “Every time Andrew hopes to put his association with Epstein in the past, it flares up again. It doesn’t matter that he has never been charged, let alone convicted, of any wrongdoing, his name keeps getting dragged through the mud by association. This is going to hang over him all Christmas. You have to wonder when it will ever end.”
Charles will deliver eco-Christmas message: report
He filmed it in Buckingham Palace in front of a living Christmas tree, the paper said—“potted with its roots intact rather than one which has been cut down. And all its decorations are environmentally friendly, too, crafted from plants or made from recyclable material.”
In his opening address earlier this month at the COP28 U.N. climate summit, Charles said, “I pray with all my heart that COP28 will be another critical turning point towards genuine transformational action. We are seeing alarming tipping points being reached.”
He added, “Unless we rapidly repair and restore nature’s unique economy, based on harmony and balance, which is our ultimate sustainer, our own economy and survivability will be imperiled.”
A royal aide told the Mail on Sunday that while sustainability will be a “key point” in the Christmas Day address, “broader themes” will also be raised.
Harry and Meghan “redemption”—and “healing” with royals
This source is one of two sources briefing the publication on every Meghan and Harry-related subject in an extensive article—seemingly intent to rehab the Hollywood reputations of the Sussexes (particularly Meghan) after a year in which they were labeled “fucking grifters” (by Bill Simmons, founder of The Ringer and Spotify executive) after their split with Spotify, and two of the year’s “biggest losers” by the Hollywood Reporter.
There has also been the fallout of Harry’s memoir Spare, fractured relationships with the rest of the royals (including Harry’s near-totally destroyed relationship with brother Prince William), and most recently the reverberating scandal of the alleged “royal racists”—who questioned the skin color of Harry and Meghan’s then-unborn son, Prince Archie—who were named as King Charles and Kate Middleton in Dutch editions of Omid Scobie’s Endgame.
The Us Weekly sources reiterate over and over again: Brand Sussex is rebranding (away from bitter arguments over royal family matters, apparently).
“There’s this perception that Harry and Meghan have been snubbed in the entertainment industry,” the first source tells Us Weekly. “But the way they see it, they’re choosing quality over quantity instead of grabbing every opportunity that comes their way.”
Meanwhile, the relationship between Harry and the other royals—including William and Kate—remains strained, Us Weekly says. “There’s no communication,” the second source reveals. Harry “was pleased he connected with his father, and he and Meghan want to have more contact with the royal family as 2024 unfolds,” the first source says. “They’re hoping things heal with time.”
This article appears to mark the first salvo of a fightback of sorts, as a likely prelude to a wider New Year, New Sussexes campaign. The article makes the point that Harry and Meghan’s turbulent year ended on a high note, with Harry’s victory in his phone hacking case against Mirror Group Newspapers; his cases against Associated Newspapers and the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Group Newspapers are ongoing. The couple have also returned from a holiday with their kids—Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2—in Costa Rica.
Despite being tested, their marriage is stronger than ever.
“Harry and Meghan are in extremely high demand,” one of the sources told Us Weekly, claiming “the duo are being courted for speaking engagements, business collaborations and entertainment gigs.” A move from Montecito to L.A. to be more in the Hollywood mix may be on the cards.
“Lucrative offers have been flooding in” for both Harry and Meghan, a source said, and “despite being tested, their marriage is stronger than ever.” There is no more on this topic, but it’s intriguing phrasing—implying their marriage faced some kind of unknown and unnamed challenge.
According to one of the sources, Meghan has had many offers of work. “They’ve actually been shocked by how popular she is. Her team has never seen anything like it.” A few projects are described as “pending.” Also possible: a “big media deal.”
This frenzy of approaches embraces “film roles to multimillion-dollar endorsement deals with fashion and beauty brands. But her focus remains on philanthropy and giving back.”
Meghan remains “laser-focused” on the Archewell Foundation—“everything she considers must fall in line with an Archewell initiative.” Most recently, Meghan debuted the Welcome Project, which supports “women-led programming for recently resettled Afghan women.”
Meghan may relaunch her famed blog The Tig, the article says, and may even take part in a cast reunion of Suits. “Meghan’s been tight-lipped about potentially revisiting the series, but there’s hope that if the timing is right, something can be worked out,” the first source told Us Weekly. “Meghan would consider it,” the second said. “There have already been discussions.” (How great to have two sources speaking for you! We all need two sources!)
Please note, however, Meghan is currently “100% more interested in directing and being behind the camera.”
As part of the couple’s $100 million Netflix deal Archewell has produced the couple’s Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan (mainly a snooze), and Harry’s Heart of Invictus. Next, the adaptation of Meet Me at the Lake.
As for Harry, “He still has so much more to say,” says the second source about the next book he’s working on, although—breathe easy Charles and William!—Harry isn’t interested in writing another tell-all, we read. “Harry and Meghan want to go in a different direction. They’ve said what they needed to say with regard to the royals,” the second source tells Us Weekly. “They’re moving on.”
Harry and Meghan feel like everything with them is always blown out of proportion.
“Harry and Meghan feel like everything with them is always blown out of proportion,” the second source says, even though they have said what they have said—the words of Spare are Harry’s.
“They try not to let the noise affect their lives,” we learn, If anything, the criticism has only brought them closer together, the source adds: “They are stronger than ever.”
There are reported date nights in Montecito, and the tidbit they are hands-on parents who do not “rely too heavily on nannies,” according to the first source. “Harry and Meghan spend plenty of time outdoors, hiking with the dogs or kicking a soccer ball around with the kids. They also like to host dinner parties at the house and just kick back and binge-watch shows.”
Their Christmas will reportedly be spent in Montecito with Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland. “They’ll be cooking, playing games, and swapping gifts,” the first source divulges. “They have a tough time trying not to spoil the kids too much!”
Will Meghan be quizzed over “royal racists”?
Meghan Markle could be questioned over the “royal racists” controversy—if her half-sister Samantha Markle has her way. The Sun reports that Samantha’s lawyers want to ask Meghan about “family matters” as part of her libel action against Meghan.
“The royal racists’ issue needs to be explored,” Peter Ticktin, Samantha’s lawyer, told the paper. “There’s reasons why she abandoned her family and turned on her family. This is a person who wants to be able to say horrible things and not really care if she destroyed the lives of people in her family. She doesn’t care if she destroys the monarchy.”
The defamation lawsuit is set to go ahead in 2024. Samantha alleges that Meghan defamed her by saying she was raised as an only child, claiming Meghan thereby implied Samantha was cynically exploiting their relationship, causing her to experience “humiliation and hatred.” Meghan’s attorney argued that her remarks were clearly intended to reflect her subjective experience.
Regal housemate alert
Better news for Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson: TV executives are considering offering the Duchess of York a £500,000 ($640,000) deal to appear on Celebrity Big Brother following her recent appearance on ITV’s This Morning.
Her spokesperson told the Mirror that the former royal, who still lives with her ex, does not intend to join the reality TV show, but sources were still eagerly talking up the prospect, with one saying: “Sarah would be a brilliant signing for Celebrity Big Brother. She is very smart, engaging and funny. Not to mention the millions of viewers she would pull in if she began talking to housemates about the Royal Family and Prince Andrew. Sarah has never considered reality formats in the past, but ITV bosses are hoping their offer might change that position. Signing her would be a massive coup. That’s why they are digging deep for the offer they plan to make her.”
The source added: “Sarah has a great relationship with ITV and her stint on This Morning last month was a real success. It was an unexpected move for her but it worked brilliantly.”
“The fact she agreed to do that did have a part to play in the decision to target her for Celebrity Big Brother. She has been much more visible in recent months. And, after all, she wouldn’t be the first person with royal connections to do reality TV—look at Mike Tindall on I’m a Celebrity.”
Former rugby player Mike, 45, husband to Zara Phillips, the Princess Royal’s daughter, participated in the jungle-themed reality show last year. This week, Tindall revealed that Prince William was nicknamed “One Pint Willy,” due to his inability to drink large amounts of beer.
The last days
The BBC is to run a poignant reflection on Queen Elizabeth II’s final days on the day after Christmas, as part of a show entitled Charles III: The Coronation Year. The program has been attracting attention for its coverage of Princess Anne revealing that the queen was concerned about the logistical implications of dying in Scotland. Anne tells the show, per the Telegraph, “I think there was a moment when she felt it would be more difficult if she died at Balmoral. I think we did try to persuade her that that shouldn’t be part of the decision-making process. So I hope she felt that was right in the end, because we did.”
Anne also says that it was sheer luck she was with her at Balmoral when she died, saying, “In my case, it was purely serendipity that I was there. I’d been two days up on the west coast and I was coming back to stay the night and going south.”
Various other figures recount their last meetings with the monarch. The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, who stayed at Balmoral during the late queen’s final weekend said, “She was just talking about some of the remarkable people she’d met. And she was just reflecting on that and reflecting on life, and where this life leads to and we just talked about that and eternal life and resurrection, and what these things meant.”
Palace should have “tried harder” with Harry and Meghan
Nicholas Witchell, the BBC royal reporter who leaped to unfortunate fame after Prince Charles called him “awful” on a hot mic, is retiring, and has been giving a series of farewell interviews (some of which the Royalist has already noted) to mark his exit from the job.
But it is another exit—Harry and Meghan’s from their senior royal roles—that people really want to ask him about. He tells The Sunday Times: “He was looking for a way out and he perceived her as being the route out from a life that, as we now discover, he had never felt entirely comfortable with—a life to which psychologically I think he was not suited.
“Should the Palace have tried harder? Yes. In different hands, might it have handled things differently? Yes. I think by that stage the Queen was the age she was and would have found it difficult to understand the anguish Harry was going through.”
Controversially, he dismisses Harry and Meghan’s claims that the palace machine was against them, adding, “I really don’t think race was a significant factor in it, I think it was more nationality and culture than it was race.” He then adds: “But I must recognize that I’m an elderly white male—of course that colors my outlook on the world—and it clearly is not how she or they saw things.”
This week in royal history
Ah, Christmas Day, 2018—the last year Prince Harry and Meghan Markle joined the royals for their annual walk from Sandringham House in Norfolk to the nearby St. Mary Magdalene Church for the Christmas morning service. At the time, there were rumors of tensions between Harry and Meghan and William and Kate. (Such innocent times.) The following year, Harry and Meghan didn’t attend, while officially taking a break from their royal duties, spending Christmas with Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland in the States. A few weeks later, “Megxit” erupted, and all the drama that has followed in its wake.
How will Andrew address the re-emergence of the Epstein scandal? How will Harry and Meghan fill their 2024 calendar? Who will have pole position, and be wearing the best winter coats and hats, at the annual royal glamor-schlep to church in Norfolk on Christmas morning? And what will Charles really say in his Christmas Day address?