Prince Andrew Has Won the Battle for Royal Lodge

Toby Melville/Reuters
Toby Melville/Reuters

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Prince Andrew has defeated his brother the king’s efforts to evict him from his vast Windsor home, Royal Lodge.

Despite the king’s deep unease, the wildly unpopular Andrew will continue to live in regal splendor at the crenellated, 30-room mansion.

The former home of the famously extravagant queen mother is so huge that his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, has her own wing.

Last month The Daily Beast reported that Charles had defied expectations by partially rehabilitating Andrew, most explicitly by allowing him to be pictured with key family members at family events.

A friend of the disgraced prince said he had benefited from comparisons to Prince Harry, saying: “Unlike Harry, Andrew has done everything he has been asked to, and Charles realizes that. He hasn’t written a book, he hasn’t given interviews. His [Andrew’s] primary concern has been to protect the monarchy. He is intensely loyal to the monarchy.”

Now, it seems, his loyalty has paid off. The Daily Mirror’s respected royal correspondent Russell Myers has reported in what appears to be a well-sourced piece that Andrew has fought off the king’s attempts to get him to leave his home, and that having thus “[dug in] his heels…the King has relented and granted a stay of execution.”

Myers wrote: “Royal sources have confirmed the King and Andrew met privately at Balmoral at the end of August, during a royal family gathering, where the issues were discussed.”

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The result of these discussions seems to be that Andrew will now be allowed to stay there indefinitely, provided he continues to maintain the property, including making some substantial repairs thought to be urgent. Myers says Andrew spent more than £200,000 ($240,000) for roof repairs over the summer, which was characterized as an “interim payment.”

Reports that Charles wanted to kick Andrew out of the property first surfaced at the start of the year, with royal sources suggesting Andrew was being offered the consolation prize of Frogmore Cottage, the former home of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Royal Lodge was apparently being earmarked for Prince William and Kate Middleton. They may now move directly into Windsor Castle instead, some insiders believe.

A big part of the pressure brought to bear on Andrew, 63, has been financial, with his lease on the property requiring him to maintain and keep up the historic property, which requires an estimated £2million ($2.4 million) in repairs.

Andrew’s annual allowance of £250,000 ($300,000) was reportedly cut by the new king after the queen died, thus putting pressure on Andrew’s living arrangements.

However, there has been gossip among Andrew’s friends that his financial situation is less disastrous than has been reported, with some speculating that the financial settlement paid to Virginia Giuffre, thought to have been around $14 million, was written off in his mother’s will.

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Feeding into these rumors is the acquisition of a Mayfair townhouse by the couple in Sarah Ferguson’s name, thought to have been bought with the proceeds of the sale of Andrew and Sarah’s chalet in Verbier.

One friend of the family said: “It’s not unusual for debts to die with your parents, and the late queen certainly had a soft spot for him. It’s not the sort of thing one asks, but it has been gossiped about. How else does one explain them funding the property in Mayfair?”

A source told the Mirror: “Andrew’s stance has paid off. He has refused all attempts by the king to leave his home, [dug in] his heels and the king has relented and granted a stay of execution. He [Andrew] is in agreement that the property needs repairs, for which he has already paid more than £200,000 recently to sort out the roof and has said he will make the further necessary renovations. It seems the king just wants to move on for the time being which might be a good idea for everyone.”

The Mirror said Buckingham Palace had declined to comment.

Andrew’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

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