The Duke of York has been sacked, but he is unlikely to show up in the UKs unemployment figures, says Guardian columnist Marina Hyde
In a development that only someone of his preternatural self-awareness can have seen coming, Prince Andrews family has decided he needs to spend less time with their brand. To put that into perspective, the Duke of York is widely agreed to have done his job so abysmally that a hereditary monarchy has had to resort to a version of meritocracy. The absolute infra dig of it.
The Queens second son was summoned to a Buckingham Palace meeting on Wednesday, where it was revealed the Windsors were reducing the head count/making internal efficiencies/pivoting to video. People love to imagine the royal family is just like us, so this was just your standard meeting with your mother in which youre decruited and offered the chance to retrain as someone who does even less work for a dazzling fortune. A lottery winner, perhaps, or bitcoin thief.
We dont know exactly what Her Majesty said to Andrew, but as a piece of placeholder dialogue, its probably best to imagine the Queen demanding his gun and badge, then barking: Youre on traffic duty! Sex traffic duty. Its a perverse kind of duty then again, it appears to have been that way for a few decades now but please resist the natural urge to see Prince Andrew as the true victim here. He is expected to pick up a zero-hours international golfing contract and consequently will not show up in Britains coercively massaged unemployment statistics.
So yes, we must wait for those ventriloquisers at The Crown to get around to the full dramatisation a few series from now. The bad news is their failure to have bought in early to the character of Prince Andrew, a role they will undoubtedly need to cast in light of events. The good news is they can probably now get actual Prince Andrew to play it, given his revised schedule has more windows than Buckingham Palace.
Still, retiring in your 50s, having enjoyed a consequence-free career: if HRH does ever end up being interviewed by the police, hell have some common ground with them. Some think a subpoena is a gathering possibility, with the former British consul-general in New York questioning Andrews claim to have stayed with him and not Jeffrey Epstein in 2001, on one of the occasions Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleges she was trafficked to have sex with him. Meanwhile, lawyers for some of Epsteins victims are making repeated appearances on US TV to emphasise his legal and moral duty to be interviewed by the FBI about what he knows.
Not that the Duke of York ever seems to have realised how good he had it. Back in August, an email emerged contemporaneous to Andrews highly controversial 2010 stay at Epsteins New York mansion in which the literary agent John Brockman described being in the room as Epstein and Andrew received foot massages from two young, well-dressed Russian women. According to Brockman, Andrew was complaining about his lot. In Monaco, he said, [Prince] Albert works 12 hours a day but at 9pm, when he goes out, he does whatever he wants, and nobody cares. But if I do it, Im in big trouble.
Though not recalled by Andrew, this vignette reminds us that its customary for royals to spend a significant amount of time being jealous of other royals who have it cushier than them. Prince Charles, for instance, has long resented Prince Andrews lifestyle-to-duty ratio. Meanwhile, Prince Harry is believed to resent Prince William for not being caught by the media in the same number of youthful japes/Nazi costumes/racist videos as he was. And so on and so on because theres always a prince or princess who has it better than you. Violin sizes may vary. Informed royal sources suggest that while it was the Queen who formally removed Andrew from public duties, it was Charles the shadow king pulling the strings. The P45 is unlikely to have pained Andrews elder brother too much.
It felt inevitable by Wednesday in any case, despite various hints of rearguard actions as the fallout from the Newsnight interview mushroomed this week. My favourite was the suggestion that the prince could do another interview, to put right the omissions of the first. And in one sense, why not? God knows, there were other places he could have gone claiming to have caught porphyria from a sofa once owned by George III, for instance, or to have been chemically castrated in Nam. Then again, the interview-to-correct-the-interview does vaguely remind me of that answerphone scene in the movie Swingers. Having left a weird, desperate message on a womans answerphone, Jon Favreaus character leaves another to make up for it, which ends up being even more horrendous and excruciating. So he leaves another, and another, until the woman suddenly picks up the phone as hes leaving one and says: Dont ever call me again. This, but with landmark TV interviews drawing a line under stories about your close association with an international child sex offender.
And it really was a landmark, even accounting for the fact that, since George I, this has been a family widely recognised for its lack of intelligence. One of the sensational real-time revelations of the Emily Maitlis masterpiece was the fact that Prince Edward must have been the clever one. Prince Andrew was fully scores of IQ points away from being bright enough to pull his gambit off, yet retained a mesmerisingly misplaced faith in his own charm.
How? He and his far-from-estranged ex-wife were always a pair of rolling liabilities, with Fergies decades of financial incontinence a worthy foe for even the royal familys vast coffers. Incredibly and yet entirely credibly she was in Saudi Arabia at Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmans summit at the moment he was recording his BBC interview. Everyone has been so nice here in Riyadh, she gushed, presumably lucratively. I think that comes from good leadership. What can you say? Other than never mind the bonesaws; and that there are few people in public life who have provided such a consistently baroque series of answers as the Yorks to the rhetorical question, How stupid do you actually have to be ?
On balance, then, we probably wont be seeing another Prince Andrew interview. It wasnt simply bad. It was the Heavens Gate of royal interviews, basically killing the entire genre. Nobody ever made westerns like they used to after Heavens Gate, and nobody in the royal family is going to be giving carte blanche to a BBC interviewer again in a hurry.
But the more famous thing about Heavens Gate, of course, wasnt that it ended westerns but that it ended its studio. Michael Ciminos monster flop effectively collapsed the entire studio that produced it, United Artists and the question after Andrews interview is how dangerous his monster flop is to the royal family that produced him. In the warp and weft of the UKs royal story, people are always looking for the incident about which they will end up saying: Well, in retrospect, that was the moment Some royal historians are already judging Andrews interview as seismically as Edward VIIIs abdication.
Maybe. Either way, it should always be remembered that the abdication crisis was hugely enjoyed by the public. As Evelyn Waugh remarked in a 1936 diary entry: The Simpson crisis has been a great delight to everyone. At Maidies nursing home they report a pronounced turn for the better in all adult patients. There can seldom have been an event that has caused so much general delight and so little pain.
Of course, events relating to Andrews crisis have been very far from painless despite his stunning failure to mention Epsteins victims. But it has certainly felt like a unifying moment for a divided nation, and that is surely worrying for the royal family. A YouGov poll found a mere 6% of people thought Andrew was telling the truth. This week it has been hard to escape the distinct impression that people from all sides of various divides have come together to agree the prince was a true wrong un. And then to wake up the next morning and think: I am biologically incapable of sweating because I ODed on adrenaline in the Falklands.
So it remains to be seen if this unprecedented Buckingham Palace containment strategy will work. What can be said with some confidence is that Prince Charless forthcoming reign has long felt like a coach crash waiting to happen, and that this grotesque drama feeds into that. Along with David Attenborough, also 93, the Queen is perhaps the last consented-to link with the postwar consensus. Aprs her, the essential personnel are a complete shower.
This week, we caught a glimpse of the Windsors potential exposure when the Queen departs the earthly realm. Members of the royal family are not too big to fail any more. That feels of a piece with our deeply fractured nation, in which so many institutions have revealed themselves as no longer up to the job. Shortly after the EU referendum, a French diplomat likened the British government to a cartoon character that has run off a cliff but not yet realised it: Theyre in the air now, but at some point theyre going to look down and fall. Those words ring uncomfortably true for much beyond government on this septic isle. All sorts of jigs are up, all at once, for a post-imperial country that has been running on its own fumes for decades. Things go along much as before, until seemingly abruptly, but not really they dont. What now for it all? I cant help thinking of that great bit of Hemingway dialogue from The Sun Also Rises. How did you go bankrupt? Two ways, comes the reply. Gradually and then suddenly.
Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist
Coinbase Custody selected by 21Shares for Bitcoin ETP
Today we’re proud to announce that 21Shares AG has chosen Coinbase Custody to store its digital assets for its Bitcoin ETP. 21Shares AG is listing its 21Shares Bitcoin ETP (ISIN: CH0454664001 — WKN A2T64E) on the Deutsche Börse’s Xetra electronic venue on Thursday July 2nd 2020. Coinbase Custody will serve as custodian for the underlying assets of their Bitcoin ETP.
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Compound (COMP) is now available on Coinbase Earn
Earn COMP while learning how to borrow crypto and earn interest with Compound
Coinbase’s mission is to create an open financial system, where anyone in the world can participate on equal terms from their computer or smartphone. To bring this vision to life, we’ll need to make blockchain technology more accessible, both in the sense of making cryptocurrencies easier to obtain and easier to understand.
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Since the launch of Coinbase Earn in 2018, we’ve announced nine different assets, including 0x, Basic Attention Token, Zcash, Stellar Lumens, EOS, Dai, Tezos, Orchid and now Compound. In less than a year, asset issuers offered over $100M in crypto to distribute to our customers, and we have launched Earn internationally. As we expand globally, millions of people are gaining access to a trusted, secure, and legal bridge to the crypto economy — even if they don’t have a credit card or bank account with which to buy crypto.
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Coinbase receives a servicing fee from the participating asset issuer. Consideration for Coinbase Earn is wholly independent of our digital asset framework for new listings. Click here for our Earn FAQ and terms.
Compound (COMP) is now available on Coinbase
Starting today, Coinbase supports Compound (COMP) at Coinbase.com and in the Coinbase Android and iOS apps. Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store COMP. COMP will be available for customers in all Coinbase-supported regions, with the exception of New York state.
Compound (COMP) is an Ethereum token that governs the Compound protocol. The protocol allows anyone to supply or borrow Ethereum tokens through a decentralized market. Suppliers earn interest on the crypto they supply to the protocol and borrowers pay interest to borrow it.
One of the most common requests we hear from customers is to be able to buy and sell more cryptocurrencies on Coinbase. We published a process for listing assets, designed in part to accelerate the addition of more cryptocurrencies. We are also investing in new tools to help people understand and explore cryptocurrencies. We launched informational asset pages (see COMP here), as well as a new section of the Coinbase website to answer common questions about crypto.
You can sign up for a Coinbase account here to buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store COMP today.
Coinbase owns COMP tokens as a result of a 2018 investment in Compound. Coinbase intends to maintain its investment in Compound for the foreseeable future and maintains internal policies that address the timing of permissible disposition of its digital assets, including COMP tokens.
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