One could say Prince Andrew hasn’t had the best week following his explosive Jeffrey Epstein interview.
From becoming the first royal in decades axed from their public role, to reports his own brother Prince Charles was the one who encouraged the Queen to enact the sacking, the effects of the past six days will not be easily erased.
Luckily for the prince, his long-standing confidante and ex-wife Sarah Ferguson has been a present pillar of support both publicly and personally.
In fact, despite the royals largely distancing themselves from the Queen’s second son, Sarah has reportedly paid a secret visit to Buckingham Palace in a bid to offer some words of advice.
She was spotted being driven into the palace just hours after Andrew had publicly announced he was stepping down from public duties ‘for the foreseeable future’, the Daily Mail reports.
On the day of the now-infamous interview last Saturday, Fergie penned an emotional tribute to her ex-husband, calling him a ‘giant of a principled man’.
“Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness of always seeing the best in people,” she wrote.
“For so many years he has gone about his duties for Great Britain and The Monarch. It is time for Andrew to stand firm now, and that he has, and I am with him every step of the way and that is my honour.”
Influence behind interview
And as much of the public panned Andrew’s attempts to explain his past actions, reports began to emerge it was in fact Sarah who was the ‘driving force’ behind the decision to do the interview.
“When the possibility of this interview arose, Sarah felt that it could be the best way of clearing his name while presenting the public with a look at the real Andrew,” a source told Daily Mail.
“Given how damaging this scandal has been in the past six months, Sarah felt Andrew needed to get ahead of the matter to give his public image a better chance of recovery.”
Alas, the same sentiment was not shared by the wider royal family, with the Queen only being informed about the interview instead of approving it.
Similarly, Prince Charles was reportedly the influence behind his brother being axed from public duties in a bid to ‘protect the monarchy’ for more long-term damage.
These shock claims come from The Evening Standard, whose senior royal source detailed the reasons behind the family’s ‘swift’ actions over the past six days.
“This is not about personalities, this is about protecting the institution of the monarchy itself,” the source revealed.
“It is very sad. Obviously, both the Queen and the Prince love Andrew, but the health of the monarchy is too important to risk.”
The prince has repeatedly denied allegations he had sex with Virginia Roberts on several occasions in 2001 when she was just 17 years old.
Ms Roberts has alleged she and Prince Andrew dined together and went to a nightclub in London before the first time they allegedly had sex.
However, the Duke of York denies ever meeting Ms Roberts and says instead of going nightclubbing with her and having sex with her, he was at a pizza restaurant in Woking, southwest of London, before going home.
“I was with the children and I'd taken [my daughter] Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon,” he told the BBC.
Prince Andrew was then asked how he could remember going to a pizza joint 18 years ago, to which he said going to Pizza Express in Woking was an “unusual thing” for him to do.
Prince Andrew has “categorically” denied having sex with Ms Roberts who alleges they had sex on three occasions.
"I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened," the Duke of York said.
"I've said consistently and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever.
"I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at email@example.com
Or sign up to our daily newsletter here.