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Prince Andrew’s origin story: ‘Baby Grumpling,’ school bully

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Over the weekend, Sarah Ferguson continued to push the narrative that her ex-husband Prince Andrew is a wonderful, honorable person, despite his friendship with the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his failure to express sympathy for the financier’s victims in his disastrous BBC interview last fall.

Ferguson took to Instagram to post a photo of her and the 60-year-old Andrew with their “united loving family” — their two adult daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie — to celebrate International Family Day. It was a rare family photo, and appeared to confirm reports that Andrew and Sarah, and possibly Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, are sheltering in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic

But people were once again reminded of the other narrative about Andrew — his scandalous friendship with Epstein. The Mail on Sunday reported that he may have received a foot massage from one Epstein’s alleged “sex slaves” during his controversial 10-day visit to the convicted pedophile’s Manhattan mansion in December 2010.

The Mail said the woman may have given Andrew the massage as he and Epstein watched “The King’s Speech,” the 2011 Oscar best picture winner, which depicted another royal scandal — King Edward VIII’s abdication — that led to Andrew’s mother becoming queen.

The image of Andrew being indulged by someone as rich and disreputable as Epstein — and seemingly oblivious to the consequences — is consistent with a third narrative that emerged about the duke over the weekend.

This narrative comes from a new biography of Andrew, which suggests that the origins of his disgrace were apparent in childhood. Nigel Cawthorne, author of “Prince Andrew: The End of The Monarchy and Esptein,” writes in an excerpt for the Daily Mail that Andrew was “indulged at every turn” as a young child and grew up to pursue “twin obsessions with women and money.”

Cawthorne begins his excerpt by reminding readers how much Andrew was admired in the 1980s for his “movie-star” looks, “enviable self-confidence” and his Navy service during the Falklands War.

But he’s now the least popular member of the royal family, following his BBC “Newsnight” interview. During the interview, Andrew defended his friendship with Epstein and failed to adequately address allegations that he had sex with a teenager, Virginia Giuffre, who said she was groomed and pimped out by the financier.

Photograph appearing to show Prince Andrew Duke York with Jeffrey Epstein’s accuser Virgina Guifre and alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell. (Florida Southern District Court) (Florida Southern District Court)

Andrew came across in the interview as arrogant and cagey, leading corporate sponsors and charities to desert him, and Queen Elizabeth to tell him to step down from royal duties and give up his annual $280,000 taxpayer-funded salary.

“How, I wondered, does one even begin to reconcile this unsavory character with the much-adored Prince Charming of the past?” Cawthorne wrote. “Was he too easily influenced, or marked by some trauma? Or were the seeds of his misfortunes there all along?”

Cawthorne proceeds to list some of those “seeds”:

“From the beginning, palace staff found him a handful,” Cawthorne wrote. “His nanny, Mabel Anderson, called him Baby Grumpling — because of his temper tantrums and obstinacy.”

Andrew enjoyed much more of his mother’s attention than his older siblings, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, Cawthorne wrote. He reportedly was his mother’s favorite, and his father, Prince Philip, was fond of his “boisterous” and mischievous ways, Cawthorne added.

But even the queen had to concede at one point: “He is not always a little ray of sunshine.” Philip also was put out when a young Andrew disparaged “the common people” on a TV show they were watching one night.

“If it wasn’t for people like that, you would not be sitting here,” Philip told Andrew, according to Cawthorne.

When Andrew started prep school at age 8, he gained a reputation for being “a bully,” and staff at the school were not sorry to see him go, Cawthorne said.

At the prestigious Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland, a teen-aged Andrew failed to shine academically and was known for being “boastful,” Cawthorne reported. Other students also called him “the Sniggerer” because he liked telling dirty jokes.

The newly-created Duke of York Prince Andrew and his bride Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, ride in the 1802 State Landau carriage in a ceremonial procession to London’s Buckingham Palace after their marriage at Westminster Abbey, July 23, 1986. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin) 

But because Andrew was a prince and better looking than his somewhat gawky older brother, he became a heartthrob for teen girls. When a 16-year-old Andrew accompanied his parents to the 1976 Montreal Olympics, one Canadian newspaper described him as “Six foot of sex appeal.”

Andrew started to wear jeans, big-buckled belts and open-neck shirts, and to attract a series of girlfriends. But Cawthorne reported: “His charm seemed reserved for the ladies.”

Royal bodyguards and other staff said he treated them in “shocking, appalling ways,” Cawthorne reported.

“His manners are just awful,” former bodyguard Ken Wharfe told Cawthorne. Another aide said he was “incredibly rude to his personal protection officers, throwing things on the ground and demanding they ‘(explective) pick them up.’”

The aide continued, “No social graces at all. Sure, if you’re a lady with blonde hair and big boobs, I bet he’s utterly charming.”

After a series of high-profile romances, including with erotic-film actress Koo Stark, Andrew met, fell in love with and married Sarah Ferguson in 1986.

But as “passionate” as Andrew and Sarah were for each other, they couldn’t make the marriage last because his naval duties kept him away from home for much of each year, Cawthorne reported.


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Why Nicole Avant Made Doc About Her Father – Variety

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When Nicole Avant was growing up in Beverly Hills in the 1970s and ’80s, her father, Clarence Avant, was one of the most connected and successful African American power brokers in the music industry. He launched record labels, owned radio stations and became a key figure in politics and the civil rights movement.

The Avant home was always buzzing with a stream of Hollywood and Washington insiders coming and going. “I knew that he was very powerful because the phone rang constantly and I always heard him fixing something or giving advice,” says Nicole, who made her producing debut with Netflix’s “The Black Godfather,” a documentary about her father. “And then I did see him on ‘Soul Train’ one day, and he was giving an interview with Don Cornelius. …That’s when I thought, ‘Oh, he must be a big deal because he’s on television.’”

That point is driven home by the documentary, which features interviews with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, David Geffen, Jamie Foxx, Sean “Diddy” Combs and the late Bill Withers, whom Avant signed to his Sussex Records while the singer was still working as an aircraft assembler.

Nicole Avant, who is married to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, says she had plans to shop the doc around before her husband snapped it up for the streamer. “I actually had this idea in my head since I was a little girl. I really did,” Avant, who served as Obama’s ambassador to the Bahamas, says on this week’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.” “I had told Ted, even when I was dating him, there’s this idea I have for this film, and I said to him, ‘I’m going to take it to HBO.’ Once I started getting the interviews and everyone started confirming, Ted said, ‘Do you really have all these people saying yes?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, for sure.’ He said, ‘Let me take a look at it again.’ And then at that point, Ted is a part of the family, and he saw a solid film, and he saw an important film, and he actually wanted to tell the story just as much or even more than I did.”

What do you want people to know about your dad?

I really wanted people to take away that it’s important to have a strong sense of self. It’s important to keep moving forward. It’s important to pay back. It’s important to move the needle. Also, it’s very important to take risks in life. Sometimes you’re going to fail. Sometimes people are going to say no. So what? It’s a part of life. You keep going. You pick yourself back up again.

What did you learn about your dad while making the documentary that you didn’t know already?

I took it for granted how hard his childhood was and how abusive it was — having a stepfather, really beating up my grandmother in front of him and in front of the other children. My dad didn’t really have a childhood, and he took care of seven kids because everyone was working and they were so poor.

How hard was it to hear those stories?

Very hard for me. And it made a lot of sense when everything did fall down for him and everything blew up at one time and we lost everything. I think everything triggered to his childhood again of not having things he didn’t have or anybody to really rely on.

Tell me about a time in which someone really big turned up at the house and you were like, ‘What is this person doing here?’”

The one time I was very star-struck was when Whitney Houston showed up one day and I had just been listening to the “Greatest Love of All.” I’d sing it in the car like I was Whitney Houston. I was floored; I stood at the front door and I thought, “Oh, my God, this is a real celebrity. This is a big deal.”

If you were to make a scripted narrative about your dad, who would play him?

Forest Whitaker could play him because he knows him and he could “get” him actually.

This interview has been edited and condensed. Hear it in its entirety below. You can also listen to “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.


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Even Prince William Has To Deal With This Classic Family Dinner Challenge

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There’s no question about it: lockdown has changed our lives and transformed the way we work. And that goes for royals, too. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have adapted, taking their royal duties online, via a number of zoom calls. But not everything has changed… On his latest call, Prince William revealed that even he has to deal with this classic family dinner challenge.

Speaking to representatives of the PEEK Project, a Glasgow-based charity, on May 20, the Duke of Cambridge said the success of his family meal depend very much on “what’s on the table”. Joking with community chef Charlie Farrally, Prince William agreed that dinner time can be very challenging: “If parents put something on that children love, dinner time goes very well,” he said. “But if you put something on the table they don’t want to do, that’s another ball game.”

PEEK Project, Possibilities for Each and Every Kid, have been working throughout COVID-19 to provide balanced, and hot meals for families in need. The Duke of Cambridge praised them for their work and pointed out the immense pressure that parents are under as well.

The PEEK project has been supported in it’s work throughout the pandemic by the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal. Were it not for lockdown, the Duke of Cambridge would have been in Scotland this week to meet representatives at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Obviously, this couldn’t go ahead face-to-face, but he still spoke to the chefs, volunteers, and the CEO via a video call. “I hope when I find myself up in Glasgow in the near future I can come and see you guys in person and congratulate you,” he added.


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Ozark’s Esai Morales to Replace Nicholas Hoult As ‘Mission: Impossible’ Villain – Find Out Why

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Esai Morales, known for his work in Ozark and How to Get Away with Murder, is joining the cast of Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8, director Christopher McQuarrie revealed on his Instagram on Thursday (May 21).

However, Deadline is now reporting that Esai, 57, is actually replacing Nicholas Hoult in the movie in the villain role for the films.

The reason why Nicholas is being replaced? The Coronavirus pandemic has delayed production of tons of movies and television shows across the globe. As a result, the “delay put Hoult in conflict with another commitment.”

The film currently has a release date of July 23, 2021, but that could change as many films have had to alter release dates due to the global health crisis.

If you missed it, Nicholas just made a super rare comment about his two-year-old son.


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