Just after his BBC interview addressing his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein was widely panned, Prince Andrew has once again landed in hot water.
Rohan Silva, who was an aide to former Prime Minister David Cameron, claimed that the Duke of York used the N-word during an encounter at Buckingham Palace in 2012. Silva wrote in an essay for Evening Standard that he had asked the Queen’s son whether the government department responsible for trade "could be doing a better job," to which Prince Andrew replied, "Well, if you’ll pardon the expression, that really is the [N-word] in the woodpile."
Silva wrote that he is "ashamed" he didn't call the prince out on it, but at the time, he felt "overawed and extremely conscious of the gulf in status between the two of us."
It wasn't the first time he noted the prince using unacceptable language — Silva, who is of Sri Lankan descent, said that during a previous conversation, the Duke of York had told him, "What you have got to remember is that you’ll never get anywhere by playing the white man."
"I genuinely didn’t know what he meant, and the discussion moved on. But the phrase ‘playing the white man’ stuck in my head, as I’d never heard it before," Silva wrote. "So when I got back to my desk, I immediately googled it. The definition flashed up on my screen: an old-fashioned saying, used during colonial times, meaning that only white people can be trusted to follow the rules, unlike dark-skinned natives."
A royal source denied Silva's claims to CNN, and said that Evening Standard has received a "legal letter" over the essay.
Silva's account comes just after Prince Andrew's BBC interview was widely deemed a disaster. During the interview, the prince gave bizarre excuses for his controversial friendship with Epstein as well as the sexual allegations made against him by Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre). He claimed to have "no recollection" of having ever met Guiffre, and said that he couldn't have danced and "sweated profusely" on the dance floor, as she claimed in court papers, because he couldn't perspire due to a medical condition.
Although The Sunday Times called the interview "one of the single worst PR moves in recent history," members of the royal family seem to be standing behind him. The Daily Beast reports that Queen Elizabeth signed off on the interview before it happened, and in an Instagram post on Friday ahead of the interview's airing, ex-wife Sarah Ferguson said that he is "a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness of always seeing the best in people."
"I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, that dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth," she wrote.
Royal support aside, the prince's actions are beginning to cost him sponsors, including Pitch@Palace supporter KPGM.
Business giant KPMG, founding sponsor of Prince Andrew's Pitch@Palace, have pulled out due to “adverse press scrutiny around PA”. Contract not renewed end of Oct. Significant pressure on other sponsors' positions now & many are understood to be considering their positions.— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) November 18, 2019