Prince Andrew has seen plenty of losses in recent years — titles, dignity, beloved teddy-bear collection — but one thing he’s apparently hanging onto is his enormous home. According to the Daily Mirror, King Charles has reluctantly granted his brother permission to remain indefinitely in the Royal Lodge, the 30-room mansion Prince Andrew has shared with his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, since 2004.
Andrew has spent the past year or so clinging to the giant house — which formerly belonged to his grandmother the Queen Mother — for dear life. Royal insiders claim that, amid the crown’s efforts to distance itself from Andrew and his especially atrocious reputation (rape allegations, well-documented ties to Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, etc.), the duke lost his annual income and with it, his ability to maintain the property. Upkeep reportedly costs around £400,000 per year — too steep for someone whose finances are believed to be in perennially rough shape, even though Andrew holds a 75-year lease and apparently pays a pretty reasonable £250 a week (or about £1,125 per month) in rent.
On those grounds, Charles — who is believed to have cut Andrew’s £249,000 allowance — was reportedly trying to banish his brother to the comparatively humble five-bedroom cottage formerly occupied by Harry and Meghan. According to various reports, however, Andrew spent at least part of the summer exercising his squatter’s right, refusing to leave the Lodge “for fear he ‘might never get back in,’” per one Daily Mail source. In July, another royal expert claimed Royal Lodge had become a chess piece in the “power and status game” playing out between the two brothers. Now, thanks to what is being described by the Daily Mirror as a “stay of execution,” Andrew’s stubbornness seems to have paid off.
The royal family seems to generally agree that Andrew is a bad look, even by their standards, and have mostly tried to communicate their disapproval by demoting Andrew from all his royal roles. At the same time, recent events suggest Charles may be bringing his brother back into the fold, at least by degrees. The king allowed him to wear his military uniform to one of the queen’s funeral events, and at his coronation, acquiesced to Andrew’s appearance in his Garter Robes. Per the Daily Beast, the duke has continued to show up for private family gatherings and has retained his shooting privileges at Windsor Castle, a brotherly favor that also helps him retain his social life. Andrew and Charles are said to have met at Balmoral at the end of August, after which the king allowed him to be photographed hitching a ride with William and Kate — the future king and queen.
The Daily Beast’s sources also claim that Andrew’s financial straits may not be as dire as previously believed — thanks, in part, to continued help from the king and to his late mother’s will. Renovations on the lodge are expected to cost £2 million, a sum to which Andrew has contributed a measly £200,000 so far. (Apparently this covered roof repairs and counts as an “interim payment,” per the Mirror.) As was the case for the undisclosed but certainly large settlement Andrew — or, more likely, the queen — paid Virginia Giuffre, it is not clear how he plans to fund the rest.
Also as yet unexplained: why Andrew would insist on rebuilding a property that the Mirror claims is “damp throughout” instead of scaling down to a house that was recently burnished with £2.4 million pounds’ worth of renovations. Perhaps the late queen’s corgis have grown attached to Royal Lodge’s many prized peeing spots?