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Does Prince Andrew deserve forgiveness? There's nothing moral about a mother's love

She forgave him. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)


March 31, 2022   4 mins

The Queen must have known that choosing Prince Andrew to accompany her down the aisle at Westminster Abbey would bring her little but condemnation. “Still a sweaty nonce” was one such response on Twitter, charmingly expressing what many might nonetheless feel: that such is the nature of Andrew’s extensive failures as a human being, he should have been locked away in a royal basement, not paraded before the country.

The Queen must have known. But she did it anyway, because though few people have any doubt that he is a total wrong’un (I don’t doubt it one bit), he is still family. Many families have rotters in their midst. And one of the most valuable things about family is that virtue is not a condition of membership. A mother can love her children, even if they have done terrible things — indeed, that is precisely the sort of dogged love many of us celebrated last Sunday. Besides, this was Prince Andrew’s father’s memorial service. Shamed or not, of course he had to be there. (Though, over in sunny California, the more virtuous members of the Royal family didn’t quite see it that way.)

In truth, I don’t much care for memorial services. The purpose of them is to speak well of the dead; literally, to eulogise. Such events work well for the powerful, the famous and the righteous. “A man of rare ability and distinction, rightly honoured and celebrated, he ever directed our attention away from himself,” said the Dean of Westminster of Prince Phillip. Memorial services don’t require much religion either, which is part of their popularity in a secular age. They are sandwiches of hymns and readings and speeches — and songs can be easily substituted for hymns, poems for Bible passages.

In my time as a priest, I have buried a number of men (always men, as it happens) about whom no one has a good word to say. I have buried paedophiles. I have buried murderers. No one wanted to come to their service. The funeral was just me, an empty crematorium, and their coffin. The weakness of the memorial service is that it doesn’t work in such circumstances. There is no eulogy to be had here because there are no good words. Memorial services exist for upstanding members of the community.

But alone in the crem, undertakers having a fag outside, and armed only with the words of the Mass, there exists a kind of encounter with death, and with the evil that some people do, that for me at least is the absolute core of priestly ministry. Of course, most of us haven’t committed such crimes — but nonetheless, this still feels like the business end of the human condition. This is death as total desolation, without applause, without consolation. And of course, I pray for forgiveness, no matter what the crime. And for the victims of this person’s wickedness too. Which is why I often cannot myself forgive — that stuff is seriously above my pay grade. No, I will leave that bit to God.

There wasn’t a prayer of confession at this week’s memorial service for Prince Philip. Many would have loved to see Andrew perspire his way through that one. “We have done evil in your sight,” said my congregation together on Mothering Sunday. Some of us have more to confess than others. But confession and the search for redemption exists for those who have done great wrong as well as for those of us seeking reassurance as to the eternal consequences of our daily peccadillos.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” My church in South London has long been a black-majority church. Yet one of the most popular hymns we sing is one written by a former slave trader, John Newton. Had the memorial to him been in stone, no doubt we would have been asked to take it down, just as Jesus College Cambridge have been petitioning — unsuccessfully it now turns out — to have a memorial to a college benefactor, Tobias Rustat, taken down because of his links to the slave trade. Some months ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury unwisely got involved, supporting its removal.

I have no problem with removing bits of old stone in churches and chapels. But I do find it problematic that we might do so on the basis of the virtue of those being memorialised. The church is not a house of moral virtue but a place for those seeking redemption — and that means a place for the wicked as well as for the just. “I once was lost and now am found,” wrote Newton.

I am absolutely not arguing that we ought to see the good in people who have done great wrong, that somehow, deep down, they have within them a spark of goodness. Nor am I naive about the possibility of change. Priests are generally much more sceptical of human nature than many people expect. We have listened to so much self-justifying bullshit over the years — how could we not be? No, this is not about thinking people are better than they are. It is about God’s capacity to forgive in a way which exceeds my own.

The possibility of forgiveness is awkwardly related to morality. Secular versions of evil generally invite a kind of retributive logic in which wickedness deserves punishment. Forgiveness sticks in the craw of moral reasoning. Which is why, without God, morality inevitably becomes a kind of cancel culture — a righteous anger that responds to injustice with punishment. And such a culture will have no truck with what might look like attempts to rehabilitate wrongdoers — sweaty nonces, whether princes or not.

But fundamentally, Christianity isn’t much interested in morality, it’s interested in love. At its core, it’s about how to love the intrinsically unlovable. As a mother might love her unlovable child. As God might love us. Allowing Andrew to support her as she walked into the place where she made vows to support the Christian faith might just be one of the most obviously religious things the Queen has done. And when Christianity gets enacted at this level, we should expect to be scorned for it, not applauded.


Giles Fraser is a journalist, broadcaster and Vicar of St Anne’s, Kew.

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Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

What has Prince Andrew done? He had allegedly had sex with a 17 year old who he no doubt thought was attracted to him as a handsome Prince Charming and was “no better than she ought to be” in the old fashioned phrase. Like many other rich men and US politicians he overlooked for too long the seedy nature of Epstein and his friend Maxwell.
It was tasteless and a gross error of judgement compounded by his subsequent poorly presented explanations for which he has sensibly been required by his mother to step back from representing her in her official capacity – but what mother would not reassure her son that he had not lost her love and affection simply because he was a bit of an idiot and would not be happy to demonstrate that at a family event to honour her husband.
This is not the case of an evil man but that of a complacent idiot who has been caught out by a change of moral atmosphere. He is not a paedophile.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

“…just as the Rochdale and Rotherham grooming gangs…”

But it isn’t “just as” the example you give. In fact it has almost no points of alignment at all.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

The only difference is age. All girls involved were given things in exchange for “favours”. Perhaps you need to read up on what constitutes CSE. PA gave his opinion on VG when he tried to use the “sl@g” defence, the Rochdale grooming gang said the same thing. They abuse these young women/girls out of a complete lack of respect. “Not that big of a deal” was what the Rochdale groomers said. PAs lack of contrition says the same thing.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

She recruited other girls to her terrible lifestyle, without anyone telling her to.

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I agree he is not a paedophile but he is a slime ball – in more ways than one.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Nothing I have read suggested that the lady was coerced into the professional role she engaged in, for which she was paid and recieved various benefits – trips to the UK for instance. She was no doubt young
naive and impressionable, and perhaps, as she says, led by bad people.

Further, York denies it all, his defence did not look hugely convincing, but the case against was even less so.

What he should not have been allowed to do was to settle it by paying her off. If there was reasonable suspicion of a crime there should have been a trial. Perhaps in the UK. But now we will never know and justice has failed to be done for either of them. That is the tragedy

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

If there had been a crime that was provable there would have been a criminal case. There wasn’t, so the case brought was a civil one. Prince Andrew has never been charged with anything, only ever accused by a proven liar.

Rachel M
Rachel M
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Welp, what he’s actually accused of is raping a trafficked minor. And, if you know the law, sexual offences against persons under 18 are treated as child abuse in the UK. Whether he technically meets the definition of “paedophile” or not is irrelevant.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

Since, even assuming the allegations against him to be proven, he is not a paedophile by any accepted definition of that term, you might as well say that it is irrelevant whether or not he technically meets the definition of “arsonist”.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

The age of consent under Uk law is 16. In New York state it’s 17. One would have to prove not only that he had sex with her at the age of 17, but that he did so in a jurisdiction where the age of consent is 18, such as the US Virgin Islands where Epstein had his island. So far, the claims I have hear surround a meeting at a London nightclub and at Epstein’s home in New York.

Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

You can marry in Scotland at 16 and, I believe you can marry in England at 16, with parental consent. Or has this law been changed?

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

That is still the law, though there is a proposal to change the legal age for marriage to 18 in England (at which point no doubt Ms Sturgeon will change it in Scotland to 18 or 15, anything rather than be the same as the Auld Enemy)

David Harris
David Harris
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

Alleged.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Harris
Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

The word rape becomes meaningless in this context

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

What is a CSE law? The young woman texted a friend that she was thrilled to have bagged a prince ( sounds familiar?)?She was herself a madam , upgraded from her former life from 14 years old, as a prostitute. If not paid by Andrew, she got to lead a life of luxury and could have left any time. I look forward to her victims suing her. No doubt this comment will be deleted.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

Child sexual exploitation, basically it means that no one under the age of 18 can legally agree to sex work or sex in exchange for favours.

Rosy Martin
Rosy Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I’m with you, Jeremy. He may be unattractive, with a sense of entitlement , but it would be hard for him to avoid this, given his birth. He would have been used to girls throwing themselves at him and he probably thought she was just another – as indeed she probably was. I daresay she’s regretted it since, but that is another matter. He has paid a high price for his peripheral attachment to an evil man.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Well I do hopes judge knows what CSE is, what with it being law and all.

Hugh Eveleigh
Hugh Eveleigh
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Yes indeed. I did a bit of research and it was not until 1875 that the consentual age was raised from 12 to 13 (for a female) in the UK and eventually in 1885 to 16.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Eveleigh

Certainly at the time of the alleged behaviour it was perfectly legal for someone in England to have sex with a seventeen year old of sound mind.
The law has been subsequently modified by the Sexual Offences Amendment Act of 2000 to lower the age of consent to certain acts of gay sex to 16 and create a new offence in relation to people abusing a position of trust that are fairly carefully defined in respect of sexual activity with those unde the age of 18 – which is what I presume Rachel M is referring to. However, the Act does not apply to Prince Andrew as he was not in any of the categories set out as being positions of trust in relation to the woman concerned, nor of course did it creat a retrospective offence, so is simply not relevant to the discussion which the number of down votes to Rachael M’s contributions suggests those reading them realise.
if anyone wants to plow through the details of the Act they can find them here.
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/44/notes

Allister Wilson
Allister Wilson
2 years ago

This is an excellent article about love and forgiveness. God’s love is infinite, as is the love of a mother for her children. I believe that the Queen demonstrated huge courage in insisting that Andrew walk her down the aisle. She showed the world that, no matter what Andrew did or didn’t do, he is still her son whom she loves. I admire her strength of character, integrity and elegance in rising above the tabloid culture of our country. She has been criticised widely for doing so. I applaud her.

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago

I agree and well said.

Wanda Adach
Wanda Adach
2 years ago

I would also add “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone…” John 8;7

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
2 years ago
Reply to  Wanda Adach

And to complete the old joke :
After Jesus spoke those words a rock flew through the air and killed the accused. And Jesus said “Mother, now you are just showing off!”

Christine Hankinson
Christine Hankinson
2 years ago

Thank you. I agree. Not about forgiving Andrew but the power and sanctity of unconditional love shown by mothers. So magnificently shown by the queen.

Last edited 2 years ago by Christine Hankinson
Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
2 years ago

Beautifully put Christine. It certainly isn’t about the minutiae of different legal systems. And who are we to judge ourselves fit enough to confer “forgiveness”. Isn’t that putting us on a superior level?

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
2 years ago

“few people have any doubt that he is a total wrong’un (I don’t doubt it one bit)”


Wow, please excuse yourself from jury service if ever called.

Keith Callaghan
Keith Callaghan
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

Jane, that’s right. The Duke has not been found guilty in any court of law – only the court of public opinion.

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
2 years ago

The public I know don’t find Andrew ‘guilty’, in the same way that they don’t consider retired Bunny Girls to be ‘victims’ (an entire series devoted to ex Hefner groupies on TV currently). I suspect anti-royals are the loud minority here.

Andrew may well be a chump of the highest order, I don’t know, but I understand that Giuffre started with a long list of occasions when she and he were supposedly in the same place at the same time. The famous photo (the original of which has never been produced) was the only evidence that they ever met. All other times, dates and places either could not be corroborated or were disproved by Andrew’s diary.

Apparently Andrew was asked to pose for a photo for the ‘victim’ to send to her mother, as evidence that she had met a prince. I find it unlikely that he would have posed happily if anything untoward had yet taken place. Something may have occurred later, who knows. She claimed it did, but she would wouldn’t she? It was all about the money after all.

geoffrey cox
geoffrey cox
2 years ago

Aka the mob.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

Wrong class of person for Giles . Now if he were a potential jihadist looking to convert to C of E to game the immigration system , his good points would be obvious .

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

One paragraph begins “I don’t much care for memorial services”, but they are often a supplement to allow a funeral to be a private or family event, while allowing an opportunity for a much wider public demonstration of respect and/or affection, so the fact The Rev Fraser doesn’t care for them is utterly irrelevant.
He then appears to justify it by talking of the funerals for murderers and paedophiles he has attended. So? This service wasn’t for such a person.
It was surely appropriate for Prince Andrew to be there, and Fraser is entitled to believe him guilty of paedophilia, but it is surely unchristian to broadcast such aspersions based upon assertions 20 years after the event by someone standing to gain ~ÂŁ10 million pounds, and producing in evidence a single photograph, carefully cropped in almost all versions, which strikes me as being exactly like countless numbers of selfies taken with celebrities when opportunity presents itself, instantly to be forgotten by the target. Her lawyer certainly earned his/her share in the loot, while republicans assisted by gleefully repeating the allegations and showing that photograph again at every excuse.
I do not know whether or not he slept with her, and he was clearly unwise to associate with such people, but she was clearly no child, and he the perfect target, and perhaps the true victim.

Last edited 2 years ago by Colin Elliott
Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
2 years ago

It seems to me entirely appropriate that Prince Andrew should withdraw from royal duties of a national nature, and entirely appropriate that he should be present at a family occasion, his father’s memorial service. And that the Queen should publicly acknowledge his presence in the way that she did. We could also note that her other three children would all have walked into the Abbey accompanied by their spouses.

Last edited 2 years ago by Henry Haslam
Caroline Martin
Caroline Martin
2 years ago

We do not know what Andrew did or did not . I am not sure whether he is a wrong un or not. And neither does Giles. He seems to be sure however. That surprises me.

Edward Seymour
Edward Seymour
2 years ago

In this time of cancelling people, what seems to be missing is any concept of redemption. I’m not a Christian, but surely the Christian concept of forgiveness and the idea that a person is capable of redemption is now inextricably part of our western cultural identity. I thought the Queen gave us all a beautiful example of firstly motherly love and second that Andrew would be able to take the first steps towards his own redemption. Those steps were the ones she made him take down the aisle from the very back to the very front. At the end of those steps he melted into anonymity. We should reflect on this especially since any crime that Andrew has committed was a moral crime and certainly not one that has troubled a court of law. On the question of redemption and forgiveness it is interesting to speculate on the morality that accepts a 12 million pound apology, but that I suppose is a different question.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago

Reverend Sir, on what grounds exactly are you sure that he is ‘a total wrong ‘un?’

Nicola Gee
Nicola Gee
2 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

“Randy Andy” (as he was known when he was sowing his wild oats) may not be a paragon of virtue, but I think his lasting friendship with his ex-wife, and the continued support of his mother, bear testimony to the fact that he is NOT a “total wrong ‘un.”

Paul Hughes
Paul Hughes
2 years ago

Surely no one begrudges a son attending the funeral or memorial service for his Father. As for his sins, I recall hundreds cheering the Kray twins allowed out of prison to attend the funeral of their mother.
I also can’t help thinking that Andrew’s predicament is a product of his lack of genuine power. I suspect there are many of real influence who will unjustly emerge untainted from their own Epstein connections.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul Hughes
Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago

Why does Giles Fraser think Prince Andrew is “a wrong’un? He flew a helicopter In the Falklands War with bravery, and drummed up foreign investment and trade for the UK as a Trade Ambassador. He did not choose some of his friends wisely but being loyal and standing by a friend could be considered a virtue, although possibly unwise.
I understand that the case brought by the 17 year old American hostess was put on hold when the American court was asked to subpoena her to appear in court, at the request of Prince Andrew’s lawyers. The subsequent outcome has been publicised, money prevailing, as it always seems to do in cases like this..
The media is very anti-royal and it has the power to focus on one particular point of view to the exclusion of any other but it is rather horrifying that a respected clergyman should exhibit the same trait.

Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
2 years ago

As for slaves, I have never owned a slave and I don’t intend to start now. However, I fail to see how this places me in a different category to those who did own slaves when it was legal and socially acceptable. I have my faults, just as they did. I am unable to share the self-righteousness of some non-slave-owners.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago

The moment she got paid off should have been the end of it. We have a concept called ‘innocent until proven guilty’in this nation.

Jean Nutley
Jean Nutley
2 years ago

If we look beyond the pomp, circumstance and titles, we see a wife grieving for her husband, and children, grandchildren and great grandchildren honouring their memory . Who, amongst us, would refuse one of our children to attend such a service? Who would choose to be escorted by a non family member rather than a beloved child? The sheer logistics would have been a nightmare, if Charles had escorted her, that would leave Camilla by herself, ditto Edward and Sophie. I don’t think the Queen did anything particularly heinous on Tuesday. Poor woman, whatever she did she would have been in the wrong. As for the priest who wrote this, you may or may not be right about Andrew, but I don’t recall any court, American or British, passing a guilty judgement.
Until then, try remembering Matthew 7;1,” judge not, lest ye may be judged “

René Descartes
René Descartes
2 years ago

What a strange man of the church to condemn Prince Andrew as “a total wrong’un”. Just because he made a total fool of himself on the Emily Maitlis interview by saying, among other ridiculous things, he had not invited Epstein to a party but to a “straightforward shooting weekend”? I know the church is supposed to forgive sins, but shouldn’t it forgive stupidity too?

D Hockley
D Hockley
2 years ago

As far as I am concerned, if the girl was 16 or over at the time then he has done nothing wrong….. very tasteless of course, but nothing actually wrong.

Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago
Reply to  D Hockley

It makes a monkey of the law when anyone who has been sexually active for many years can be considered under-age at 17.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
2 years ago
Reply to  Iris C

Does that argument apply to the victims of the grooming gangs in Rochdale etc? Is an abused child to be regarded as ‘sexually active’ and therefore fair game?

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago
Reply to  D Hockley

When its been paid for then its exploitation!

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago

Many would have loved to see Andrew perspire his way through that one”
Is there to be no end to the gratuitous nastiness directed against Prince Andrew, and this from a priest? The condition he claimed he had is well known to exist and usually brought on by shock or stress – I actually know someone who suffered it after a nasty traffic accident. Furthermore, a man who was a close friend of Andrew and Fergie just before their separation confirmed that he did not sweat and that he was prepared to testify to that effect if a court case was brought.
I am surprised at Giles Fraser, I thought more highly of him.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

I think it’s important to distinguish an older man having sex with a 17 year old young woman, creepy as that is, and a man having sex with a child, which as John Riordan points out is the worst thing a man can do “short of murder”. In fact I think it is worse than murder, it is a complete failure as a human being. All sorts of people murder for all sorts of reasons.
Anyway it is not for me to forgive such people, either the creeps or the paedophiles, that is beyond me, but as far as I’m aware Francis MacGabhann is right, without being sincerely sorry there is no forgiveness, only hellfire as it were. My nagging worry about that though is that a person may be so damaged and hate himself so much that he may think he deserves hell and goes for it. That surely is where a vicar or priest is needed, to persuade such people that God still loves them and will forgive them if they are truly sorry.
I read about an incredibly brave nun who was instructed by her mother superior to visit our local prison every week and listen to the prisoners (male) talk about their pasts on an individual basis. She said that it felt sometimes as if it would destroy her she heard such terrible things, but she kept it up for years and years. It seems to me a very cruel thing to demand of one nun. I can only hope her devotion helped sometimes.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Rachel M
Rachel M
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

A person under the age of 18 is not legally an adult. Assaulting a person under the age of 18 (which was the allegation against him – that he raped her) is treated as child sexual abuse by UK law. Age of consent laws are supposed to protect consenting children of similar ages, not imply that teenagers are fair game to be preyed on by adults – which is by the by anyway, given the allegation was of rape of a trafficked minor.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rachel M
Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

If you cannot tell the difference between having sex with a 17 year old and a 7 year old, except with regard to the law, then I have nothing to say to you.

Rachel M
Rachel M
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

If you can’t see the difference between what I actually wrote and what you’ve said that I wrote, then I agree that it is pointless talking further.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

The point of the article is “forgiveness”, not the law. The discussion generally and my comment are about forgiveness.
The charges against Andrew have been dropped. The law has no bearing on the issue we are discussing – forgiveness. Some people, like Giles, think he is guilty but that is just an opinion.
Your insistence on quoting the law in response to my comment appears to imply you think there is no difference between sex with a 17 year old and a 7 year old – “a child is a child is a child” – which is the only reference I make, indirectly, to the law. Otherwise what is the point of your reply?

Rachel M
Rachel M
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

No, you created that implication all on your own. If I were to do the same to you, I could say that you “implied” that there’s nothing wrong other than “creepiness” in a grown man having sex with a teenager. You referred to her as ‘a seventeen year old young woman’. My point was, she was in fact a minor, legally, she was a minor, and it’s not the same as having sex with a woman. That is why, legally, it’s considered rape.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

Is your point that sexual activity between (say) a male aged 20 and a female aged 17, where the female consents, constitutes rape under the law of England and Wales?

Rachel M
Rachel M
2 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

No, Wilfred, I’m not “saying” anything, and if I were saying anything, it wouldn’t be that.

‘The primary purpose of abuse of power provisions is to provide protection for young people aged 16 and 17, who are considered to be particularly vulnerable to exploitation by those who hold a position of trust or authority in their lives.
These offences are primarily concerned with the child giving ostensible consent to the activity, but that consent is not relevant because of their particular relationship with the abuser.
Positions of trust are defined in Sections 21 and 22 SOA 2003.
The prohibited sexual behaviours in sections 16 – 19 are identical to those prohibited by sections 9 – 12 (i.e. sexual activity with a child; causing a child to engage in sexual activity; sexual activity in the presence of a child; and causing a child to watch a sexual act).’

– the Crown Prosecution Service

Last edited 2 years ago by Rachel M
Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

You have cited sections 21 and 22 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Apart from the inconvenient fact that proceedings were initiated in the United States rather than in the UK, the point you are making would depend on ‘abuse of a position of trust’.

The issue of a position of trust arises where an alleged abuser looks after people under the age of 18 who are detained in an institution, are in a local authority care home, a hospital, and so on. (There is not space here for all the detail, but that is the gist of it.)

Was this young person in any such care institution, in the UK or anywhere else? Was the alleged abuser looking after her in such an institution?

Since the answer to both questions is No, the issue of abuse of a position of trust as defined in this Act has no relevance.

Andrew Walker
Andrew Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

It is not rape if the young woman is over 16 and consents. Your further references to the law on persons in positions of trust or authority are irrelevant, because the Prince falls into neither category.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

I did’nt “imply” there’s nothing wrong in a grown man having sex with 17 year old other than creepiness, it is exactly what I said.
I think it is probably better for young women of 17 not to have sex at all until they are a bit older, but the sex instinct can be very powerful. It seems far better to me that a young woman of 17 might be in a steady relationship with a boyfriend of, say 24, (nothing creepy about that as far as I am concerned), than hopping into bed with serial lovers the same age as her.
On the other hand men in their 30s and 40s etc taking advantage of 17 year olds for casual sex, that is creepy.
Anyway, as far as this alleged business between Prince Andrew and Virginia Guiffre is concerned it was all hypothetical. He’s lost his job and position and she has acquired a fortune.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

“Assaulting a person under the age of 18 (which was the allegation against him – that he raped her) is treated as child sexual abuse by UK law”
Section 9 SOA 2003 says otherwise. The age of consent in England is 16, not 18. The U.S is well known for having a high age threshold. France didn’t even have one until recently.

Rachel M
Rachel M
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

Key points
A person is a child if under 18.
Consent is not in issue. It does not matter if a child of 16 or 17 consents to the activity, it is those who exploit children who commit the criminal act.

The above is from the Crown Prosecution Service. It’s the law, no point getting livid about it.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

It’s quite surprising how many people are willing to believe a middle aged man is naive but not a 17year old girl.
As the law now stands, anyone under 18 cannot legally consent to being paid for intimate relations, either with cash or favours. If you’re old enough to be their parent then just don’t, at least until they’re beyond 20
 to be on the safe side.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lindsay S
Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Naivety is not confined to the young, it can be found in people of all ages. Some people prefer not to face reality because it is ugly and frightening, some people lack experience of life and some are just lucky and simply never come up against dangerous situations until the fatal one, when their luck runs out.
Unfortunately it is equally possible for some children and teenagers to come up against dangers and have experiences they should not. They learn young how to deal with them, a few make the most of them, without understanding the cost.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

As I understand it raping anyone, not only those under 18, is a crime. What am I missing here? There is not a shred of evidence that Prince Andrew did rape her, other than her ever-changing story under the umbrella of the pernicious MeToo movement. He is the real victim here.

Rachel M
Rachel M
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

The difference is, because she was under 18 and the case involved abuse of power, it’s considered rape whether or not she consented. I’d direct you to a comment I posted above quoting directly from the Crown Prosecution Service. Facts are facts whether you like them or not – what he did is illegal in the UK. If you don’t like the law perhaps you can write to your local MP and ask them to change it.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

what he did is illegal in the UK

So – just to get this straight – you actually know what he did? As in know as a fact?

Rachel M
Rachel M
2 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

The only fact I’m confident of right now, Wilfred, is that you’re very protective of grown men being able to sleep with school-age girls.

Andrew Walker
Andrew Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

The alleged case, only in the civil court in New York, did not involve abuse of power as defined in the Act you refer to.

D M
D M
2 years ago

He has not been convicted of anything. What is there to forgive ?

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago

Does Andrew deserve forgiveness?

No, he hasn’t been convicted of a criminal offence, so why should he need to be forgiven?

And if you think his financial contribution to an accuser shows his guilt, check out the story of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Roland Brennan
Roland Brennan
2 years ago

‘When Christianity gets enacted at this level’ – exactly my thoughts when I saw the pictures of Andrew on his mother’s arm.

Graham Dunn
Graham Dunn
2 years ago

A well written piece with a
key point being we all
need forgiveness and redemption. I read nothing in the article that attempted to downplay any of the wrong and unwise decisions Andrew took. But he remains loved by his mother and by God. As we all blunder through life surely that is good news.

David Bullard
David Bullard
2 years ago

An interesting view on memorial services. My wife and I have an agreement that the first to snuff it will be cremated in the cheapest coffin (hopefully cardboard) with nobody in attendance. After that an event will be held with lots of booze and good food and plenty of impromptu speeches from old friends. I have even digitally recorded a short video message from beyond the grave to be played on a vast TV screen after I’m gone. Obviously I update it regularly as the Woke and personal pronoun rules change…..one would hate to be posthumously cancelled after all.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  David Bullard

I’ve organised two funerals in the last few years, and used cardboard coffins, much to the disappointment of the funeral directors, although far from cheap; with a beautiful bouquet on top, I thought they looked much classier than the wood-effect coffins with fancy mouldings and garish metal-effect handles.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
2 years ago
Reply to  David Bullard

I agree – no service. Been thinking of being “composted”.

Kevin Godwin
Kevin Godwin
2 years ago

Nothing wrong with ‘slow-release’ fertiliser!

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
2 years ago

Andrew did his mother a great service,giving up his right to defend himself in court in order that her Jubilee not be tarnished by the spectacle of the press hanging on every perjured word of testimony against him. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness because he did nothing wrong to forgive.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago

Forgiveness for what ?
What has the man done that has been proven, apart from being a total git for mixing with the totally wrong kind of person ?
Until he is proven guilty in a court of law, or admits to having committed a crime

as far as I am concerned, he remains a careless sod who should have known better

.which is more than a heavy burden to carry when you are a royal.

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago

I pity anyone who find themselves in this guy’s confession box

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
2 years ago

He’s an Anglican – no confessionals in their churches. Confession will be face to face.
All the same, I can’t see why there’s hostility to Mr Fraser here: his points seem undeniable.

Hugh Eveleigh
Hugh Eveleigh
2 years ago

It was in fact the Dean of Windsor who referred to the Duke’s deflection of praise away from himself but that aside the conclusion that the Queen chose Andrew to help her to arrive more easily to her seat was surely deliberate and one which confirmed that whatever the facts of his alleged wrongdoing may be it was his father’s memorial service and he had to be there and to be seen to be there. The Queen is a committed Christian who showed an aspect of its core teaching by doing what she did. Mr Fraser’s final paragraph says it well.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Eveleigh

What may I ask is that in your cartouche? It looks like three sparrows each under a crown.

Alan Groff
Alan Groff
2 years ago

The Pharisee prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—racists, misogynists, pedophiles—or even like this tax evader.’

They “that are whole” are obviously not healthy in Christ’s estimation, precisely because they think they are. Only “those who are sick” know themselves to be so. If the pretension of wisdom may issue in foolishness, the final wisdom, “which is withheld from the wise”, may be “revealed unto babes”. There may be a wholeness of view among the simple, which grasps truths not seen by the sophisticated.

All attempts to establish God’s perfect society, whether organized Christianity, Islamism, secular social justice or Leninist utopia, they have all, ironically, produced evils, exactly contrary to what the powerful thought they would produce.

Our sitting in judgement of every public sinner isn’t an act of morality, as Fraser implies, it’s following the crowd.

Rene Girard has a beautiful description of the power of the crowd.
https://youtu.be/YWsU5rXDFVc

Christ is more than love, he is the innocent scapegoat that shows the morality of a mob casting out the evildoer is built on a lie. He empties the mob of its power and restores faith in all the possibility of one word of truth standing against the world.

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan Groff
Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Groff

If the powerful thought what you say, they had either not read the Bible or had misunderstood it! The whole reason for Christianity is that no-one can be good enough and everyone needs forgiveness.

Peter Popham
Peter Popham
2 years ago

‘I often cannot myself forgive – that stuff is seriously above my pay grade.’ ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive…’ isn’t that pretty fundamental Giles? For regular folks, let alone vicars?

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

I dunno. Before forgiveness comes contrition…

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago

How on earth do you know he hasn’t made an act of contrition to the head of his church? Or do you think only when it’s made on tv that it counts? Judge not, that you be not judged.

Michael Kellett
Michael Kellett
2 years ago

This column isn’t worthy of you Revd. Fraser.

mike otter
mike otter
2 years ago

Totally on board with those below who’ve noticed GF is not modern clerical material. More like someone from the late medieval period: Pope John of Avignon, perhaps? The piece shows what seems to be a lack of education in moral philosophy and theology in general, Christen in particular. Maybe bin him and hire AN Other? No humans are 100% bad or good, even though many strive to 100% one or the other. This is evident whether you subscribe to a theistic/moral code OR think the issue is a mix of synapses versus environment which project a vision of morality with purely physical causes.
Furthermore even Giles’ crazed Nazarene hippy got a trial – of sorts – something he seems happy to deny Prince Andrew. I have heard from several who’ve had dealings with the Prince that he is apt to be prickly and rude but that’s not the same thing as being a convicted sex offender!

Last edited 2 years ago by mike otter
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

The fact that Prince Andrew is easy to dislike may explain quite a lot of his trial and conviction by media and public opinion.

Susan Osterwoldt
Susan Osterwoldt
2 years ago

“(Though, over in sunny California, the more virtuous members of the Royal family didn’t quite see it that way.)”
I’m sorry – I haven’t read enough of your writing to know whether this is sarcasm.

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago

It is

Nicholas Rowe
Nicholas Rowe
2 years ago

Does anyone deserve forgiveness?
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? 
Does Prince Andrew know how much he is loved?

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
2 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rowe

He certainly does – mostly by himself, of course.

Howard Ahmanson
Howard Ahmanson
2 years ago

The author of this article is the rector of a supposedly Christian church? Then he would certainly know that “deserve forgiveness” is an oxymoron.

Lionel Woodcock
Lionel Woodcock
2 years ago

This is a grubby episode in many ways, but this publicity-aware Christian cleric offers nothing in forgiveness and redemption; only personalised spite. Why did he think he needed to write and publish this invective, I wonder. The hollow comments on ‘love’ are especially jarring.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lionel Woodcock
Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago

Comment of the day.

Jane Alleslev
Jane Alleslev
2 years ago

How embarrassing!! I don’t get the last sentence. As I was reading the article I was ready to accept Mother’s love is a ‘good’ thing and living Christian love in that way is a ‘good’ thing. So why “scorned”?
So .. maybe to do something ‘good’ is always to be scorned? Or the world still must ‘crucify’ all Christians? Nope.. too arcane for my poor old brain.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago

So really just a case of Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile, OBE, KCSG, versus His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, KG, GCVO, CD.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
2 years ago

“Not actually illegal” IN THE UK !!

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago

“I am absolutely not arguing that we ought to see the good in people who have done great wrong, that somehow, deep down, they have within them a spark of goodness.”

Since my initial response to this was taken down, I’ll repeat that I think this makes a terrible attitude for a priest.

I’m reminded of something Dave Chappelle observed about Bill Cosby after the latter had been arrested for what turned out to be one of the most prolific and protracted date-rape sprees ever known – hundreds of women, apparently, drugged and then sexually assaulted by him over decades.

Chappelle’s point was a good one: are we really going to make Bill Cosby nothing except a serial rapist? To rewrite history to expunge his huge contribution to public life in general? Never mind whether this is fair to Bill Cosby, because that’s not the issue here, the question is whether the rest of us are behaving in our own interests in permitting lies to become the basis of our future understanding, as opposed to the facts.

Bill Cosby is a brilliant example of a person who did both great things and terrible things, and it is a hopelessly reductive and retrograde step to start assuming we can divide the world into goodies and baddies according to this new childish, simplistic and binary moral code we’re seeing more of these days. (And why is it, incidentally, that its proponents seem to see everything in polarised binary terms except the one most obvious and logically irrefutable example of it – sex and gender?) However, I might be prepared to go along with it if, and only if, the Liberal Establishment will agree to put Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao in the same context-free category of moral condemnation that they presently endorse not just for genuine mass murderers like Hitler, but for the minor historical British figures who had any connection with the slave trade and were also unwise enough to socialise their gains from it. If we’re going to have this nasty hectoring revisionism, let’s at least apply it fairly.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Riordan
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

It does not taking leading defence Counsel to remind one that EVERYONE IS innocent until proven guilty in a court of law: due to the mosullc sized intellectual capability of the vast majority population of interweb addicts in US and UK it is them and what passes (sic.) for their ” opinion” that is….” right”…..

Simon Gilboy
Simon Gilboy
2 years ago

As usual, a thoughtful and considered article by the redoubtable Rev Fraser who’s never shied away from voicing fundamental truths however misunderstood (or unpalatable) they might be to a wider public.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago

Its illegal if she was paid to engage with him or are you suggesting she submitted because she actually fancied him?

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Clearly you believe her version of events, which given that she spent the duration of the dispute claiming that she would donate the whole of the damages won to women’s charities and then once she had the money only handed over 16%, is a pretty daft level of credulity on your part.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

It was an awful lot of money to pay someone who you say is lying about you? Whether she keeps the money or not, the fact of the matter is he paid it.

Sue Blanchard
Sue Blanchard
2 years ago

Well said! I agree with this beautifully written piece.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

My faith teaches, and reminds me every Sunday that we all must forgive, unconditionally… It is so incredibly difficult, and it does not mean that one ” makes friends”, but exactly what is the definition of ” forgiveness”? I simply cannot answer that question, as I honestly do not know!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

I’m not a Christian, but this is a thought provoking and fascinating article as always from Giles Fraser.

Unfortunately given the various comments below, most commentators, as so often, do not in any way engage with its ideas and concepts, just ‘are you sympathetic with Prince Andrew, is he a slimeball, or not’.

I suppose it goes to show, without much doubt, that we are now overwhelmingly a post-Christian society, even among those conservatives who rather transactionally supposedly support elements of traditional religion.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
2 years ago

I have never understood the world’s fascination with England’s royal family. Why do you still have a monarch anyway? What do they do?
Are you afraid you will run out of celebrities to trash?

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 years ago

Private foregiveness-their business. However as political figures- shunning is appropriate. He’ll still get to eat handsomely but you shouldn’t have your public cake and eat it.

Last edited 2 years ago by Terence Fitch
John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago
Reply to  Terence Fitch

But by the same token, he deserves at least for his wrongs to be stated accurately and for whatever consequences to be fair and proportionate. As it happens I think, in the strictly official sense, that losing the HRH title but remaining the Duke of York is about right.

In the court of public opinion however, what’s happening to him is emphatically not fair or proportionate: he is not a paedophile and it is wholly unacceptable for morons on social media to be calling him such a thing. He deserves defending from such slurs, and I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one here who sees it this way.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Riordan
Rachel M
Rachel M
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Not everyone is as passionate about accurately representing the sexual predilections of accused rapists as you are, John. The girl was a minor, not legally an adult. Isn’t the new trend for paedophiles to call themselves “minor-attracted”? He meets that definition at least.

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

Why does nobody understand that the definition of a paedophile is someone who is attracted to pre-pubescent children, rather than young (under-18) but physically adult women? The term EPHEBOPHILE is the correct term, although whether applicable to PA is another matter. Did he know the alleged ‘victim’s age and would an entitled, arrogant buffoon like him ever think to question?

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Bass

Your are wasting your time. Nobody on UnHerd has a clue about Ancient Greece, nor any interest in doing so.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Definitely not true, going on many arguments I’ve read amongst the comments in the past.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Not on my albeit brief visit to this site.
You must have been here considerably longer?

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

You may be new Arnaud, but your various alter egos (not altar egos, that would be more applicable to Giles Fraser) have been here for some time – the style is unmistakable!

geoffrey cox
geoffrey cox
2 years ago
Reply to  Mel Bass

Try telling this to the Daily Telegraph. I did and it got me nowhere. Likewise IPSO.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago
Reply to  Rachel M

Luckily the law itself is quite particular about separating fact from speculation, and I would far rather align my own position with this principle than with the febrile and often-vicious-minded outbursts of the sorts of people who tend to shout the loudest on this subject. If you really think that the facts matter less than your feelings that’s your business, but it does not recommend itself to others, in case you hadn’t noticed.

And no, your further attempt to smear the Duke of York fails the test of logic too. He is alleged to have had relations with Giuffre on three occasions only one of which she would have been considered a “minor”, so this status as “minor-attracted” which you’ve invoked here actually depends wholly upon the vagaries of differing jurisdictions as opposed to anything to do with his own motives and preferences. Not just a bit of a stretch, but ridiculously contrived and fatuous, quite frankly. But you don’t think facts matter of course, so you’re free to believe whatever suits you.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Riordan
ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I note that your earlier epistle and my reply have been expunged by the Censor.
As a relative new comer to UnHerd is this normal practice?

Additionally the comments system seems moribund in that there is no notification of a reply. Is this perhaps deliberate, thus making the comment a ‘0ne day wonder’?

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

I recall that my comment included the word “tw*ts” in reference to the kinds of idiot who think that the Duke of York should be labelled a a paedophile, so it wasn’t surprising that it was taken down. I stand by the description, though.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Riordan