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Prince Andrew Faces New Jeffrey Epstein Probe, Ordered by Ron DeSantis

Toby Melville/Reuters
Toby Melville/Reuters

DeSantis bill allows release of Epstein testimony

Prince Andrew, confidently leading the royals to church this week with a grin plastered over his face, might want to pause the celebrations: Ron DeSantis could be coming for him.

According to the Daily Mirror, the Florida governor and failed presidential hopeful has signed a bill allowing the release of grand jury testimony relating to the 2006 probe into Epstein’s sex trafficking operation. This could cast light on longstanding rumors that Andrew was one of several influential people who lobbied the U.S. government on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein, when Epstein was found guilty of soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2006.

Prince Andrew ‘Devastated’ by Release of Epstein Documents: Report

It has long been suspected that Epstein recruited his coterie of powerful friends to get him a light sentence, which, crucially, also exempted any co-conspirators from prosecution in the case. Whatever he did, it worked; he got just 18 months and was out on house arrest in less than 12.

According to the Mirror, DeSantis said as he signed the bill: “There were a lot of questions about what happened where you had a sweetheart deal... This is long overdue, but again, we feel that we can’t just turn a blind eye…What happened (with Epstein) was clearly wrong, and the punishment was wholly inadequate for the crime. This is in the interest of justice to disclose this.” The Mirror reported that DeSantis was accompanied by two of Epstein’s victims, Haley Robson and Jena-Lisa Cordovez, as he signed the bill, HB 117.

A third woman abused by Epstein told the Mirror: “For years, Andrew has evaded speaking to the FBI, instead giving his own ludicrous version of events to the BBC (in his infamous Panorama interview). Finally we will have a day of reckoning the Prince has long avoided. What more must it take for him to realise his friendship with Jeffrey will never go away? Speak up, man.”

However, a legal source described as “closely connected to the Epstein case” told the Mail on Sunday that it was “highly unlikely” Andrew's name would be in the documents “as his involvement with Epstein was not raised at the time.”

Queen Camilla to take break

Queen Camilla is to take a week-long break from royal duties, after stepping in for King Charles following his cancer diagnosis last month, the Sunday Times and Sun on Sunday report.

The Times said Camilla will spend a few days of “private downtime” with Charles and her own family, before resuming royal engagements on March 11, leading the royal family for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. The Sun said she will be “jetting off on a private flight…for a sunshine break overseas.” The Mail said she “is set to jet off on holiday overseas via a private flight tomorrow, while also making time for family in the coming weeks.”

Camilla has undertaken 13 official engagements since Charles’ cancer diagnosis, most recently leading the royal family at a memorial service for King Constantine of Greece—even though Prince Andrew stole the headlines that day by physically leading the family on foot, while she arrived solo by car; this after Prince William pulled out of attending, and speaking, at the service for still-unknown personal reasons which set off a firestorm of online speculation around the state of Kate Middleton’s health, and ongoing absence from public life. William returned to public view Thursday and Friday.

“Camilla was the last key royal standing last week, sparking some concerns of who is in charge during a time when so many key royals are out of the picture,” the Mail reported.

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Prince Andrew the Duke of York, Mike Tindall, Sarah, Duchess of York, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, attend a thanksgiving service for the life of King Constantine at St George's Chapel, in Windsor Castle.

The Times reported that during Camilla’s upcoming break, William, Princess Anne, and Prince Edward and his wife Sophie will all undertake public engagements—the palace clearly keen to stave off any more headlines of where-the-hell-are-any-senior-royals of the last few days, and a return of Andrew promoting himself to headline-generating pole position at any future events.

A royal source told the Times: “Although she was not expecting to find herself in the position of leading the family, the queen is absolutely prepared to do whatever needs to be done for the institution. “She has been buoyed by the public’s reaction. She has found reserves of energy that even she didn’t think she had, and the estimation of her by those inside the palace has soared as she has put her shoulder to the wheel.”

Another source close to Camilla told the paper: “Her Majesty is robust, positive and determined to keep going while the king is off public duties. The king is proud and pleased to see the show is being kept on the road by the queen and the wider family.”

Sarah Ferguson told by docs “cancer has not spread”

Sarah Ferguson has reportedly been told by doctors her skin cancer has not spread. A malignant melanoma was identified in January after dermatologists carrying out reconstructive breast surgery after her breast cancer spotted suspicious moles. Tests revealed one mole was malignant. At the time, a friend told The Daily Beast: “It’s just unbelievably bad luck, really. She has been incredibly brave about the breast cancer, and I’m sure she will be just as brave about this. Hopefully, they have caught it really early.”

The Mail reported Friday that that the Duchess of York had “undergone further surgery to examine the area around the mole that was found to be malignant, as well as her lymph nodes.” A friend told the paper she had just learned that these were all “free of cancer,” and doctors believe there has been no spread of the disease. She will now undergo regular 12-week check-ups; the news, the friend said, was the “best possible outcome she could have hoped for,” and her prognosis was good.

Sarah Ferguson gestures as she attends the Royal Family's Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene's church, as the Royals take residence at the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Britain December 25, 2023.

Sarah Ferguson gestures as she attends the Royal Family's Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene's church, as the Royals take residence at the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Britain December 25, 2023.

Chris Radburn/Reuters

“She’s undergone further surgery following the melanoma diagnosis to examine the area around the mole that was found to be malignant and her lymph nodes,” the friend told the Mail. “The good news is that these have all been found to be free of cancer so it looks like there has been no spread of the disease and the prognosis is good, though she'll have to have regular check-ups going forward. It's a huge relief for Sarah and the entire family after the most stressful time and an anxious wait for results.”

Her doctors are reportedly reluctant to use the term “cancer free,” a source told the paper, as “vigilance is still very much needed,” but “there was very much cause for optimism.”

The friend told the paper: “She is very lucky that the melanoma was caught early thanks to the vigilance of her dermatologist, who asked for a number of moles to be checked while she was undergoing reconstructive surgery after her mastectomy. Sarah will now have to have checks every 12 weeks. She’s determined that some good comes out of her situation, and was heartened to see there was an upsurge in people checking for details of melanoma on the NHS website after she made her diagnosis public.

“You can expect to see her banging the drum for the public health message, and urging people not to miss mammograms or delay getting moles checked. Her intention will be to get the message out about the importance of being vigilant about checking the size, shape, color and texture of moles. If melanoma is caught early, it can be treated very effectively.”

Meghan hits the slopes

Meghan Markle went on a ski holiday with friends this week, as posts on Instagram made clear. Meghan appeared in a photo shared by Pilates entrepreneur Heather Dorak: “Wow, what a perfect trip!! My heart is so full. The kids crushed the slopes by day and the adults howled with laughter deep into the night. Truly lucky in love with our wonderful friends!”

Momfluencer Kelly McKee Zajfen, also posted about the trip while sharing the same pics of the trio.

“Beyond grateful for the best of friends!” she wrote. “Thank you doesn’t even begin to express what my heart is feeling after this trip. The love of family time, adventures, and belly laughs made this trip one for the books! Here’s to many more adventures with friends that feel like family and appreciating each day.”

Fergie supports Red Bull’s Christian Horner

Sarah Ferguson was seen chit-chatting with Red Bull boss Christian Horner, whose sex texts to a female colleague were leaked this week—right after he was cleared of inappropriate behavior by the F1 racing team.

The Mail said Fergie “appeared to be having a lively conversation with Christian” at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and she was seen patting his arm. Horner then gave Fergie’s daughter, Princess Eugenie, “a quick peck on the cheek,” the Mail said. Horner seems to also have the support of his wife, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell-Horner; the couple arrived hand-in-hand before snogging for the cameras, a report in the Mirror said.

Princess Margaret and her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones leave Westminister Abbey after their wedding in 1960.
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Princess Margaret and her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones leave Westminister Abbey after their wedding in 1960.

Bettmann

This week in royal history

Born Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon—as he was known after marrying Princess Margaret—was born on March 7, 1930. The couple were married in 1960, and divorced in 1978. Lord Snowdon died, aged 86, on Jan. 13, 2017.

Unanswered questions

The major unanswered royal question became a feverish internet preoccupation this last week: where is, and how is, Kate Middleton—or will people accept the palace line that she is recovering well, and not to expect to see her until around Easter? The palace says she’s recovering well from abdominal surgery/nothing to see here; meme creators and online wags are not convinced. Will the next week bring clarity—or more drama? Will the palace’s determination to bring some more royal faces to the fore this coming week go some way to convincing the public the institution isn’t in a numbers-game crisis?

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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