A whistleblower wrote to the monarch and several other members of the family, including Prince Charles, to express concern about the Duke of York’s friendship with David Rowland – who co-owned an offshore fund in the British Virgin Islands tax haven with Andrew. Andrew, 59, was accused on Sunday of exploiting his taxpayer-funded role as Britain’s trade envoy for 10 years to further his own financial interests and those of his business partner Mr Rowland, 74, and his family.
But when concerns were raised four months ago about their business relationship, the 93-year-old monarch and her advisers sat on them and decided to take no action against her second son.
Instead the Queen allowed Andrew, a Falklands war veteran she promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral in the Royal Navy on his 55th birthday 14 years after he left the service, to carry on as normal. He was given the honour of taking the salute from 10,000 veterans at Horse Guards Parade on Remembrance Sunday last month.
Buckingham Palace has refused to say what the Palace knew about Andrew’s business relationship with Mr Rowland and whether the Queen thought it was acceptable for him to act on his business partner’s behalf while on official duties abroad in his role as UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment from 2001 until 2011.
Stung by suggestions that she has lost her grip, the Queen has insisted she is in charge of dealing with the palace fallout over the recent revelations about the Duke.
She and Andrew were photographed driving away from Windsor separately yesterday.
She had spent her customary long weekend at the castle, her favourite royal residence, and it is thought to have seen Andrew, who lives at nearby Royal Lodge.
Sources have insisted that some members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles, did not directly receive the warning letters in August but it appears they were made aware of them.
It is understood the letters were all channelled eventually to Buckingham Palace and dealt with centrally by the Royal Household’s lawyers. It has been claimed that their advice was that the concerns expressed in the letters were too vague to warrant further action.
Palace officials, who have refused to respond in detail to allegations that Andrew abused his position while he was trade envoy, have declined to say whether the Queen, her advisers, or her lawyers even asked the Duke about his relationship with Mr Rowland.
“All sorts of letters are sent to members of the Royal Family,” a palace spokesman said.
“We aren’t going to respond to each one.”
But he added: “If something serious is raised then it will be looked at.”
The palace has insisted that the Duke’s aim during his spell as a trade envoy was to promote Britain and British interests overseas “not the interests of individuals”.
David Rowland, a property tycoon and former Conservative Party treasurer, was a tax exile for decades and it is claimed he helped pay off debts racked up by Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.
He was invited to Balmoral as Andrew’s guest in 2010 and reportedly met the Queen and had tea with Prince Charles.
Four months later it has been claimed he paid £40,000 to help clear Sarah’s debts.
Published at Tue, 03 Dec 2019 09:49:00 +0000