How Prince Andrew became the Queen’s impossible choice

Queen Mary, on the other hand, refused to meet Wallis Simpson and hurt her son by maintaining this intransigence until her death. Yet Wallis, who was married to Edward for 35 years, remained utterly loyal to both her husband and the Crown. She never spoke out against the Royal Family and revered the Queen, who showed her immense kindness at the Duke of Windsor’s funeral.

Likewise, Sarah, despite not spending a Christmas with her daughters since her divorce in 1996 when she was banished from Sandringham by Prince Philip, has never spoken ill of the family. She kept praising the Queen, explaining that she understood royal protocol.

She also showed me kindness once. When I was writing my book on Wallis Simpson, I wanted to go to the Royal Lodge and sit in the drawing room where Edward and Queen Mary were spending their last evening before the abdication. Sarah arranged this for me. She was away at the time so we were greeted on a Saturday afternoon by the Duke of York and some podgy Yorkshire terriers.

Andrew was an gracious host. Royal Lodge is a complete sanctuary for his ex-wife. Every surface is teeming with photographs of her, a hymn to their once golden family life.

Unlike the Windsors, who weren’t able to have children, Andrew and Sarah have Beatrice, 33, and Eugenie, 31 – and now grandchildren too. The princesses have said nothing in public. Privately, insiders say, they are mortified. Beatrice, in particular, would be “absolutely devastated” that her 18-year-old prom was tarnished when a photo emerged of Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell standing in Windsor Park.

Prince Andrew’s legal team expects to find out, perhaps as early as this weekend, which members of his family will be asked to give evidence under oath. Beatrice may well be called, given her father threw a party he took her to at Pizza Express, Woking, as an alibi on the night of one of Giuffre’s alleged assaults.

Yet, like Wallis and Edward, the Yorks are tight-knit, true to their hearts. As other royals distance themselves in the dark days ahead of Andrew, they may be all he’s got.

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