Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up by terrorists and the remnants crashed down onto the Scottish village of Lockerbie in December 1988. It tragically killed all 243 passengers and 16 crew on the aircraft, and also killed 11 people on the ground when large sections crashed onto a residential street. The day after the incident, the Queen sent Prince Andrew to Lockerbie, fearing that her own presence would distract from the desperate recovery work.
However, the Duke of York managed to deeply upset the people of Lockerbie by declaring that it was “much worse for the Americans”, adding that it had been “only a matter of time” before a plane fell out of the sky.”
The Queen reportedly said to her then-deputy private secretary Robert Fellowes: “I wish I had gone.”
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mail royal editor Russell Myers.
Ms Gripper interviewed Nigel Cawthorne earlier this month, the author of the newly released book entitled ‘Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace’.
During their discussion, Ms Gripper brought up the Lockerbie incident, insisting that Andrew’s comments showed very little empathy for the grieving people of the village.
She said: “I think the least you would expect if you were the Queen, when you send your son to do a duty, would be to not embarrass her or be insensitive when something terrible was going on.
“The story about Lockerbie, which was not one that I had been aware of, obviously the terrible crash when the Pan Am flight crashed onto Lockerbie..
“[Andrew] didn’t have any kind of empathy, really, for the people who were there and experiencing what that was like to have a plane land on their village.”
Mr Cawthorne replied: “Yes, he said it was bound to happen sooner or later and that they should feel bad for the Americans who were on board the flight who also died.”
Ms Gripper added: “You can understand the Queen saying ‘I wish I had gone’.”
The royal podcast host then compared Andrew’s behaviour to that of the Queen during the Aberfan disaster, when a colliery spoil tip collapsed onto a junior school in the Welsh village of Aberfan, killing 116 children and 28 adults.
At the time, the Queen went to the village to express her condolences and it was the first time Her Majesty had been seen to cry in public.
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In contrast to Andrew’s brash dismissal of the grief of the residents of Lockerbie, the Queen showed true compassion and empathy.
This incident was depicted in the Netflix series The Crown’s third season.
Ms Gripper said: “I think people who watch The Crown and have seen the recent series where there was the Aberfan disaster, which would have been new knowledge to a lot of people….
“I think that was a particularly emotive episode that struck a lot of nerves and was one where there was the right kind of emotion and empathy that was shown.”
After Andrew’s disastrous visit, Prince Charles visited the village in January 1989, apparently to make amends for his brother’s insensitivity.
He laid a wreath among the floral tributes in remembrance of those killed in the tragedy, and spoke to their heartbroken relatives.
He even stayed well past the scheduled time he had to be there.
One bystander said: “I am pleased that the prince has come to make amends for his brother.”
Meanwhile, a store manager called Robert Devlin said: “It takes a lot for him that he had the courage to come. It’s a great honour.”
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