We Know How to End the Standoff Between King Charles and Prince Andrew

Two brothers in the United Kingdom are reportedly at a stalemate over a residential property formerly owned by their late mother, with one living on-site but refusing to pay his fair share of the upkeep.The other, who controls the family finances, wants his recalcitrant sibling out. He claims his brother has let the home fall

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Two brothers in the United Kingdom are reportedly at a stalemate over a residential property formerly owned by their late mother, with one living on-site but refusing to pay his fair share of the upkeep.

The other, who controls the family finances, wants his recalcitrant sibling out. He claims his brother has let the home fall apart around him, but has not yet been able to get him to leave.

It’s a version of a scenario well-known to families the world over—including perhaps the most well-known family in the world. And it appears that even a literal king can’t get rid of an annoying sibling that easily.

Prince Andrew and then-wife Sarah Ferguson moved into the 3src-room Royal Lodge, about 25 miles from London, in 2srcsrc2. Under his 75-year lease, Andrew pays a little over $1,2srcsrc a month in rent. His brother, King Charles III, took ownership of the mansion as part of a $5srcsrc million inheritance he received when their mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died in 2src22.

But Prince Andrew, 64, has of late been unwilling to pony up the $5srcsrc,srcsrcsrc needed each year to maintain the crumbling spread, and the place now needs at least $2.5 million in immediate repairs, according to royal sources and photos published over the past several weeks. King Charles, 75, has offered Andrew the 5,srcsrcsrc-square-foot Frogmore Cottage, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle resided before moving to the U.S., but Andrew—who reportedly spent roughly $9.5 million on fixes to the Royal Lodge after his arrival, but hasn’t done much since—sees such a swap as an unacceptable downgrade, palace insiders say. (Andrew and Ferguson divorced in 1996, though she still lives at the Royal Lodge.)

A friend of Andrew’s told The Daily Beast the prince has “no intention of moving out” amid what has been dubbed the Siege of Royal Lodge.

We asked experts how they would go about beginning to solve such a seemingly intractable problem. And, it turns out, royal families aren’t very much different from everyone else’s.

Family therapist Sharon Marianetti-Leeper, PhD, LMFT, LCAT said she has counseled many contentious siblings embroiled in real estate and inheritance disputes, and that “it can get very ugly, very quickly, and that ugliness can be sustained over time, often until death.”

If Andrew and Charles hope “to salvage any element of their sibling relationship, there would need to be a reckoning of early childhood alliances and parental favoritism, real or perceived,” Marianetti-Leeper told The Daily Beast.

Prince Andrew was long said to have been Queen Elizabeth’s dearest son (although Prince Edward was also rumored to have been the apple of their mother’s eye), and reportedly instructed Charles to ensure Andrew was taken care of after she was gone. If the Queen really did favor Andrew while she was alive, “then Charles is no doubt not in any rush to do him any favors after her death,” Marianetti-Leeper said. “In fact, he may be relishing his brother’s and ex-sister-in-law’s ‘Grey Gardens’ moment as a sort of payback.”

“At any rate,” Marianetti-Leeper, professor at Manhattan College and Yeshiva University, continued, “clinically there would probably be more hope in ensuring that the next generation is less inclined to vitriol and more inclined to cohesion and camaraderie than their fathers are. That might be the best way to divert a multigenerational pattern from ossifying at this point.”

Families are, by and large, dysfunctional. Some more, some less. What is clear to Melissa Whitson, PhD, a practicing family therapist and a professor of psychology at the University of New Haven, is that King Charles, Prince Andrew, and their broader family “obviously… have a lot of complications.”

“They’re brothers, and one of them is king,” Whitson told The Daily Beast. “I’m sure there’s some kind of competitive dynamic going on.”

The biggest roadblock she and other family therapists face, she explained, is a lessening of one’s own culpability in the relationship breakdown.

“We always think, ‘Well, if the other person would just change, then I would stop doing that,’” Whitson said. “But the truth is, that doesn’t happen.”

Additionally, certain behaviors usually serve some sort of unacknowledged function, for example, a child misbehaving to distract their parents from arguing, according to Whitson. It is entirely possible that Andrew’s refusal to leave the Royal Lodge “is serving some sort of function for him,” according to Whitson, who specializes in childhood trauma.

“Maybe it’s keeping them connected somehow, or the situation, even though it’s uncomfortable, is still comfortable in some way for them because it’s familiar,” Whitson said.

Charles and Andrew are brothers, and Whitson said, “There’s a lot of, for lack of a better word, ‘baggage’ there.’” It’s never too late for siblings to work on improving their relationship, she said, and it’s important to realize that “it’s not always about the money, or what it seems like on the surface—there’s usually some deeper stuff going on that goes back many, many years.”

It can be hard for family members who are at odds to break free from what Whitson called “circular patterns” of behavior, even if they know they’re creating or perpetuating dysfunction. When one person blames the other for some perceived slight, and the other blames the first for causing the problem in the first place, the back-and-forth can become endless even though, as Whitson put it, “it’s not really clear who started what.”

“In order to really kind of break that up, both parties need to change,” Whitson said. “The generic example is a husband and wife: typically, the wife is the pursuer, and the husband withdraws. The more she pursues, the more he withdraws. And the more he withdraws, the more she pursues. They both have to change to change that dynamic. So we would look at these two brothers, and [ask], what kind of interaction are they engaged in that keeps reinforcing this feedback loop? And if they really want to change it, they would both have to let up a little bit on their behaviors.”

Jacob Priest, PhD, LMFT, a family therapist and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa, said conflict between siblings is “something I deal with all the time.”

“Our relationships never exist in a vacuum,” Priest told The Daily Beast. “We’ve got friends, we’ve got family, we’ve got siblings, uncles, aunts, that are all part of a push-and-pull. And then you add a whole different context on top of it, like in this situation here, right now, the royal family is under a lot of pressure, there’s been a lot of chaos, and so they’re trying to manage that as well, within the context of this conflict. And that makes things really complicated.”

Many siblings don’t partake in family therapy because most people are instead focused, sometimes overly so, on their relationships with their parents or significant others. Yet, our relationships with siblings can often be the toughest ones people will ever have, Priest said.

“There’s been this pattern, it seems especially of late, where Prince Andrew skirts any consequences,” Priest said, alluding to Andrew’s infamous friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, who allegedly procured underage girls for the Duke of York. “That power and protection that is available for him, he uses it to avoid conflict and consequences. And that’s the typical pattern that everyone’s used to, including King Charles.”

And while it would seem obvious that Charles could simply say to Andew, “I’m the King, get out,” the established baseline has existed for decades and has become embedded in their relationship, Priest said.

“That’s what feels typical or normal,” he explained, “even though it might not be right.”

When working with families, Priest is not typically looking for a specific or clearly defined resolution, he said. Rather, what he seeks is “a disruption in the problematic pattern.”

“My goal is to remove the anxiety, the stress, the tension out of the relationship, so there’s more flexibility,” Priest said, “and with flexibility comes more options. And with more options, we can find a path forward.”

Of course, there is a far less theoretical solution to all of this, at least from Maxine Chevlowe’s perspective.

A retired New York City marshal, Chevlowe has helped evict countless tenants from their homes on behalf of landlords. To her, repairing any relationship between a renter and an owner is wholly beside the point.

“In America, you go to court,” Chevlowe told The Daily Beast. “You hire a lawyer, and you go to court.”

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