The Duke of York served as the UK’s special representative for trade and investment for 10 years – a spell that ended in July 2011 as his suitability for the job came under question. A key reason for this was his links to Epstein – who was due to stand trial for sex trafficking last year before he killed himself in prison. Prince Andrew has also been accused of having sex with trafficking victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre on three separate occasions. Buckingham Palace has denied these claims, and said they were “false and without foundation”. But this didn’t prevent Andrew from stepping back from royal duties after a disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis last year.
In the interview, he said he would assist with investigations into Epstein and his former partner Ghislaine Maxwell, who has also been arrested on charges of sex trafficking.
However, US prosecutors have claimed Prince Andrew has not cooperated with their requests for an interview.
The controversy brewed for years, and even impacted him at home as he stepped down from his role as UK trade envoy in 2011.
But he also came under fire for his style of diplomacy in the role, which he held for 10 years.
As The Guardian reported, this was apparent in 2010 after a US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan hit out at the prominent royal’s conduct while meeting in the country’s capital of Bishkek.
The two-hour engagement, which happened in 2008, reportedly saw Andrew attack Britain’s corruption investigators in the Serious Fraud Office for what he called “idiocy”.
He is also said to have launched a tirade against journalists and the French during an “astonishingly candid” performance at an official engagement that shocked a US diplomat.
Tatiana Gfoeller, Washington’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan at the time, recorded in a secret cable that Andrew spoke “cockily” at the brunch with British and Canadian business people, leading a discussion that “verged on the rude”.
Prince Andrew also denounced reports by the Guardian investigating bribery as “journalists who poke their noses everywhere”.
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In the cable from the US embassy to Washington in October 2008, Ms Gfoeller wrote: “Rude language à la British … [Andrew] turned to the general issue of promoting British economic interests abroad.
“He railed at British anti corruption investigators, who had had the ‘idiocy’ of almost scuttling the al-Yamama deal with Saudi Arabia.”
She added that the Duke of York “was referencing an investigation, subsequently closed, into alleged kickbacks a senior Saudi royal had received in exchange for the multi-year, lucrative BAE Systems contract to provide equipment and training to Saudi security forces”.
Her dispatch added: “His mother’s subjects seated around the table roared their approval.
“He then went on to ‘these (expletive) journalists, especially from the National [sic] Guardian, who poke their noses everywhere’ and (presumably) make it harder for British businessmen to do business. The crowd practically clapped.”
Ms Gfoeller also revealed that Prince Andrew claimed the Americans “don’t understand geography”.
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She added in her dispatch: “He reacted with almost neuralgic patriotism whenever any comparison between the US and UK came up.
“For example, one British businessman noted that despite the ‘overwhelming might of the American economy compared to ours’ the amount of American and British investment in Kyrgyzstan was similar.
“Snapped the duke: ‘No surprise there. The Americans don’t understand geography. Never have. In the UK, we have the best geography teachers in the world!'”
Buckingham Palace refused to comment on Ms Gfoeller’s claims at the time.