Prince Andrew Defies Loss of Royal Duties by Driving Range Rover With Emergency Lights

HomeEntertainmentPrince Andrew Defies Loss of Royal Duties by Driving Range Rover With...

LONDON – Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has sparked fresh outrage by continuing to enjoy royal privileges like driving a Range Rover fitted with emergency blue lights, despite being stripped of his official duties over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The 63-year-old prince was spotted driving the 4×4 vehicle, part of a fleet leased by the Royal Household, in Windsor and central London in recent months, according to a report in The Mail on Sunday. Photos show Andrew behind the wheel of the Range Rover, which is allowed to use blue emergency lights and amber hazard lights normally reserved for police vehicles and official royal convoys.

Andrew’s security detail follows behind in a separate £60,000 Land Rover Discovery, the report said. Both vehicles have the special lights installed under an arrangement that allows working members of the royal family to use emergency sirens and flashing lights during official engagements.

However, Andrew was forced to step back from public duties in late 2019 after a disastrous BBC interview about his ties to Epstein, who died in jail that year awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. In 2022, Andrew reportedly paid a settlement of around £7 million to Virginia Giuffre, who accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17 after being trafficked by Epstein.

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The prince has denied the allegations, but he was subsequently stripped of his honorary military titles and royal patronages by his brother, King Charles III. His taxpayer-funded police protection was also removed, leading many to question why he is still allowed to use a vehicle fitted with emergency equipment normally restricted to working royals.

“There is no justification for Andrew having these blue lights. The vehicle should be withdrawn,” said Nazir Afzal, a former chief prosecutor, in comments to The Mail. “It’s highly inappropriate, suggests arrogance and sends out a message that he is entitled to services that the average citizen wouldn’t be.”

Criticism of the Duke of York’s continued royal privileges has mounted in recent days. Reports indicate Andrew used the Range Rover’s flashing lights on trips like horse-riding outings in Windsor and visits to Harry’s Bar, an exclusive private members’ club in London’s posh Mayfair district.

While the blue emergency lights were apparently not activated on these personal jaunts, permitting a disgraced former working royal to have access to them at all raises ethical questions, according to royal experts.

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“Andrew does not need or warrant these blue lights in the current circumstances. The only rationale would be if his threat level changes and his police protection is reintroduced,” said Dai Davies, who previously headed royal security at London’s Metropolitan Police Service.

The prince’s lingering trappings of royal status seem to clash with the King’s stated vision of slimming down the monarchy to just working members who earn their keep through official duties and engagements. Allowing Andrew’s Range Rover to keep its emergency fittings provides him “one of the last bits of prestige he can” cling to, author Margaret Holder told the newspaper.

“There is no purpose to Andrew having these blue lights, except for allowing him to hold on to a special privilege and status symbol,” said Holder, who has written books about the royal family.

Some see Andrew’s behavior as demonstrating a sense of entitlement and refusal to fully accept the consequences of his actions. His ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, was also captured on video earlier this year trying to sell access to her former husband, stoking further controversy.

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The Royal Household did not respond to requests for comment about why the Duke still has an official vehicle equipped for emergency services. But the episode has reinforced a perception that some royals resist accountability and struggle to relinquish the luxuries they have enjoyed as working members of the family.

For a prince who brought disgrace through his murky relationship with a convicted sex offender, the privilege of riding in a specialty Range Rover seems a modest perk. But Andrew’s insistence on exercising that minor benefit encapsulates the broader narrative of revelry and reluctance to change that has fueled criticism of the royals in recent years.

As King Charles seeks to modernize the monarchy and improve its tarnished reputation, cutting off insignificant vestiges like Andrew’s emergency car lights could offer a small but symbolic step toward shedding outdated entitlements. The matter underscores the challenges ahead for the palace in navigating the line between tradition and progress.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a seasoned basketball journalist with a passion for the WNBA and NBA. His insightful writing combines commentary and stats, providing comprehensive coverage. Alee sheds light on the overlooked WNBA while championing its players. He also delivers in-depth NBA analysis, offering unique perspectives on trades, drafts, and league dynamics. With exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes access, Alee gives readers an unparalleled look into the lives of basketball's biggest stars.

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