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Prince Andrew May Not Be A Party Animal But He Sure Is An Unabashed 'boobs And Bum' Man, Say Intimates [+uc('Damian Whitworth, Valentine Low And Alexi Mostrous (The Times London)')+]   |   Published 15.03.11, 12:00 AM

The stories about the Duke of York in recent days have offered glimpses of the gaudy world where his public and private life intersect.

Through conversations with intimates of Prince Andrew a clearer picture emerges of his strange, lonely-sounding personal life.

When he is not travelling, either in his role as a trade envoy or for pleasure, Prince Andrew divides his time between an apartment at Buckingham Palace and Royal Lodge, the Queen Mother’s home in Windsor Great Park, which he still shares with the Duchess of York and their daughters.

“They live separate lives under the same roof,” says a source who has known them both for many years. The unusual arrangement came about because they divorced without acrimony, and thought this was the best solution for the princesses, Beatrice and Eugenie. They go on skiing holidays as a family. “They eat meals together, but if he is entertaining, she will make sure she is not around.”

He sees more of the Queen than his other siblings and it was reported this week that they held crisis at the palace.

Prince Andrew does not socialise much with his siblings, nor does he maintain strong bonds with pals from Gordonstoun, where he was educated, or the navy. “His list of friends is short,” says a member of his social circle who has dined with him but would not count herself a close friend.

Another who has known him for many years says bluntly: “I don’t think he has many friends. He is rather incompetent on that front. He surrounds himself with these incredibly dodgy people. He travels so much, when he comes back he is either playing golf, if he can find any friends to play with, or he is leading quite a lonely life. It’s not like he goes to parties all the time. He has got these so-called friends who drop by when he is in this country, and there is usually a stream of transient girls.”


One member of his circle says that his male friends include Charlie Butter, whose sister is one of the Queen’s godchildren, and Lord (Harry) Dalmeny, a Sotheby’s auctioneer. “He naturally gets on better with women,” she says.

He numbers at least two ex-girlfriends, Aurelia Cecil and Emma Gibbs, among his long-term pals. His fluid social network spans old aristocracy and new money. The unifying factor is the money. At the centre recently has been Goga Ashkenazi, the 31-year-old socialite from Kazakhstan, who was introduced to the prince by his financier friend Robert Hanson. Hanson and Andrew are both close to the model Annabelle Neilson, who was once married to Nat Rothschild, the hedge fund trader. He and the prince share Saif ul-Islam Gaddafi as an acquaintance.

Sometimes this world can seem very small. In 2009, Ashkenazi attended the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition accompanied by Tim Mouffarige, the sports agent who used to be married to Tania Bryer, an old flame of Prince Andrew. She is also good friends and business partners with another of the Prince’s ex-girlfriends, Caroline Stanbury. Stanbury, who is now married, was said to have “transformed Andrew’s TV and golf routine into a life of restaurants and nightclubs”, when they dated 10 years ago.

Tamara Beckwith, the socialite, and her Italian husband, Giorgio Veroni, are also close to both Ashkenazi and to the prince. Veroni, who attended Prince Andrew’s 50th birthday in February, chose Flavio Briatore, the Formula One mogul, as his best man. Briatore once dated Ashkenazi and last year holidayed on a yacht with both her and Prince Andrew.

The model-turned-actress Lisa B and her husband Anton Bilton are close to the duke and to Ashkenazi. Bilton lent out their Buckinghamshire home, Tyringham Hall, to host Ashkenazi’s 30th birthday party. Partygoers — who included Prince Andrew, the Russian model Natalia Vodianova Nancy Dell’Olio and Lord Mandelson — were instructed to adhere to a “black tie and truly fabulous” dress code.

Much attention has been focused on the prince’s friendship with Ashkenazi, who changed outfit three times during her birthday party and beamed her own image on to the side of the house. But the Duke is not, according to those who know him well, a party animal. Teetotal since his twenties, he is not a fixture on the circuit. He is only involved with people who like to party hard because he is attracted to those who can facilitate the sort of life he wants. “Andrew doesn’t have the money to go wherever he wants in his own Boeing 737. He’s there for the ride,” says one acquaintance.

The result is that some of the people he mixes with are not exactly top drawer.

The other common denominator in Andrew’s escapades is the flattery of beautiful women who appear like a chorus wherever he is. A woman who knows him well recalls being at a party at the Chelsea Harbour apartment of a woman who acted as a match-maker for upper class men. “She used to have a photo album with pictures of girls in that she would show to guys and they would take their pick.” She did not see the album come out in Prince Andrew’s presence but he was at the party.


“It was a stand-up buffet and half the room was posh people and the other half was gorgeous blonde Essex-type girls. It made some people cringe. The posh people called him ‘Sir’ and the girls flung their arms around him and said ‘Hello Andy’. Girl after girl came to sit on his lap.”

She says that he often looks uncomfortable at parties. “He’s a lost soul. If he hasn’t got a girl fawning over him he just sits there shifting his feet. He doesn’t have much conversation other than himself. He didn’t go to Eton or to university and he found his comfort zone when he was in the Navy.”

One other woman who has known him well for years said that he is “Pretty base in terms of women. He is a boobs and bum man. There is nothing sophisticated about it. One minute you’re having your bum pinched and the next minute he is reminding you he is Your Royal Highness.”

One guest who attended a recent St Tropez party with Prince Andrew said: “When we sat down, Andrew was in a particularly bad mood. He thought I was from the Daily Mail. Then a pretty Chinese girl arrived who he was trying to pick up. I said to her, as a joke, that I produced karate movies in Hong Kong and she believed me. She dropped Andrew like a stone. That made him very angry. He’s everything people say: boorish, interrupts you and laughs at his own jokes.”

Oh dear, the jokes. These are regarded as sub-Duke of Edinburgh standard. At home he has developed an interest in gardening, keeps fit with Pilates and plays golf. He and Bill Clinton — another friend of Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced billionaire who had sex with underage girls — formed an unlikely bond on the golf course. One of the women who knows Prince Andrew recalls a friend being invited to a dinner party at his Buckingham Palace apartment. “He said he had a mate coming and after dinner. That mate turned up and it was Bill Clinton.”

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