Social commentary and think pieces

08 December 2019

Yes, Prince Andrew's attitude is disgusting; but is it really so surprising that those with great power may abuse it?

It doesn't take a genius to see that Prince Andrew hasn't been entirely honest with the press. Claims of a medical condition leaving him unable to sweat were quickly proven false when, in the days following the release of Emily Maitlis' notorious News Night Interview, the internet was abuzz with photos of a sweaty Prince Andrew. Not only that, but he claims to remember specifically that he was at Pizza Express, Woking on the specific date that Virginia Roberts claimed to be have been with him at Tramp nightclub, all the way back in 2001. But, as pointed out by many, how would one remember exactly where they were and what the were doing on a specific date eighteen years ago?

But, possibly what stood out most to those who saw the News Night interview was not only the blatant lies, but his lack of empathy for Epstein's victims, and those who claim to be victim to his own actions. The lack of remorse and the fact that Prince Andrew displayed no empathy whatsoever, nor did he even apologise, despite Emily Maitlis prompting him to numerous times, was what shocked and disgusted the public the most. However, whilst I too was disgusted by his response, I can't say I was particularly surprised. It doesn't surprise me that men with great power may abuse it. We've seen it happen before; with Weinstein; with Savile and now with a member of the Royal Family, which has so long seemed a stable force among various other societal issue in British Society.

Whilst his lack of empathy is shocking - and I do not aim to justify his response in the slightest - I do wonder if his lack of empathy breeds from his arguably incredibly privileged upbringing?I would not expect someone who has lived such a privileged life to understand that, despite being handed life on a silver platter, you can't always get what you want. I think what led to his involvement in Epstein's trafficking of underage girls is his sense of entitlement. He hasn't lived in the "real" world as such, he has arguably had a very sheltered existence, and though this doesn't justify his frankly appalling behaviour, I think it explains to an extent why those who saw the interview - most of whom are well adjusted to modern society and its expectations - are so shocked by his response to such horrifying accusations. I doubt he has ever had to think much about anyone other than himself, and unlike the vast majority of people who haven't grown up surrounded by such immense privilege and wealth, he doesn't understand that he is not entitled to everything, including women's bodies.

Though my perspective may seem presumptuous - of course, we can't know for sure how such immense privilege has impacted him, or if he would have done the same having lived an ordinary life - I do wonder if privilege breeds contempt and a lack of respect?

Throughout the interview it is increasingly evident that he is unbelievably self absorbed; his only evident concern being protecting his own representation. When asked of Virginia Roberts, he replies "I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady" and not once in the entire fifty minute interview does he refer to Virginia Roberts by name.By distancing himself from the problem in this way, he shows blatant disregard of the feelings and experiences of Epstein's victims and, quite possibly, his own victims. This does nothing but further emphasise the extent of the privilege that he has lived in, not having to care about the impact his actions have on others because he has always been able to do exactly as he pleases.Now, he seems to be learning a lesson. Its just a shame it come at the expense of so many innocent young women. 

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