Prince Andrew, some might feel, has had a pretty hard time recently. The company he keeps has come under close scrutiny from the press. People have wanted to know why the government’s ambassador for trade spends his time with gun runners, sex offenders and super rich women.
There have been questions about why some of these people have been paying off debts of Andrew’s ex-wife Duchess Sarah Ferguson, or paying millions over the odds for his house and then leaving it lying derelict. It couldn’t surely, people are whispering, be anything to do with buying favours, could it?
Further questions have been asked about the behaviour of his nightclubbing daughters and their requirements for royal security while they fall about drunk or take gap years and travel like “ordinary people” around the world.
And his propensity to allow his friends to use nearby, and convenient RAF bases to land their private jets has been called into question, along with his liking for a royal flight to go play golf.
That his ex-wife has been inclined to try to sell a meeting with him, because, as usual, she’s been living well beyond her means and needs the dosh, has done him no good; neither have his rants directed at the French, or his hosts, or the people who tried to stop corrupt practices between BAA and Saudi princes, at lunches where too much of the fare has been of the liquid variety.
His considered opinion that the bankers’ bonuses were peanuts and we’re all making far too much of them, has also caused what Mr Gove would have been pleased to describe as “disquiet”.
So, over the few weeks prior to David Cameron taking us into yet another war over oil, the pages of newspapers from the Independent to the Record were full of stories of government disapproval, of Andrew being invited to meetings with the FCO to review his progress and of speculation that his career as a somewhat dodgy diplomat was as good as over.
But, lucky for him, his boss thought different. And his boss is far more important that the FCO or the prime minister. And it seems that she has been pleased, instead of disciplining him, to install him with one of the highest honours of chivalry that it is within her power to give.
And so it was that on his 51st birthday (it must be the good living) he was installed Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in an investiture held at Windsor Castle. (Well, at least he didn’t have too far to travel.)
His boss of course is the Queen, his mummy.
And the reason given for this somewhat bizarre behavior on her part was that HM thought it was ‘the right time to do it’... and who is there to argue with her?
Most people, given a track record like the one Andrew has, would be down the jobcentre in double quick time, but clearly it’s not what you know but who you know that matters in the diplomatic and trade worlds.
More seriously, as the world many people have known all their lives, particularly in England, falls around their heads, the people at the top demonstrate once again their complete detatchment from all that is real as they continue to live their lives like nothing has happened.
Thank goodness we are all in this together.
Pics: (1)Andrew, erm, at work, diplomatting all over the place; (2) Some drunked trollop? No, wait a minute, it's princess of the blood royal. Easy mistake to make; (3) Da boss lady in her work overalls.