Royal News

Prince Andrew’s surprising possession exposed amid golf expenses row

Andrew has faced public backlash after the delayed annual Sovereign Grant Report was released last week. The documents showed the Duke of York had gone on a three-day trip to watch the golf tournament The Open Championship at Portrush in 2019. This cost almost £16,000 — and was covered by the taxpayer. The reports show Andrew flew in a private jet from Farnborough, to Portrush in Northern Ireland and back — even though there were daily flights from London to Belfast available.

However, a palace source told The Sun: “He was undertaking a visit on behalf of his patronage.

“Arrangements in relation to the programme did not enable him to travel by scheduled flight.”

Andrew was the patron of the Royal Portrush Golf Club and a past captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

The visit also took place in July 2019, prior to Andrew’s decision to retire from public life last November.

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However, a tongue-in-cheek possession reportedly found in the Duke of York’s home only seems to emphasise how much value Andrew puts in his golfing hobby.

When interviewing Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice in their family home back in October 2018, journalist Ellie Pithers noted: “The most striking thing about Royal Lodge, the Gothic revival mansion on the Windsor estate – formerly home to the Queen Mother; now the residence of the Duke of York – is the sheer volume of needlepoint cushions in situ.”

She continued: “‘Born to golf, forced to work,’ reads one plump example, nestled on a sofa in the grand hallway.

“‘One very spoilt Yorkie lives here,’ pronounces another.”

It is not clear if the pillows in question definitely belong to Andrew, as his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson lives at Royal Lodge, too, when she is not in New York, according to the article.

Yet, he is the greatest golf enthusiast in his family.

Interestingly, this year is not the first time Andrew has been criticised for his love of golf.

The Labour MP Tony Banks once described the Queen’s second son as a “useless, overweight parasite” after he hired a private jet to attend the Open Championship in Scotland, according to The Telegraph.

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He spent £10,000 using the Queen’s flight to watch the closing stages of the same tournament in 2001 as well, and then in 2004 he ditched the D-Day anniversary celebrations in France to go to a golfing dinner.

The following year, he was criticised for spending £32,000 after using the RAF to fly him to St Andrews.

In between public duties, he managed to lower his handicap to just four in 2009, meaning he could qualify as a professional.

Andrew stepped down from public life ten months ago, after a “car-crash” interview with BBC Newsnight in which he tried to explain his association with the late convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York has kept a low-profile ever since, rarely appearing in public.

He did not even feature in the official photographs released to honour his daughter Princess Beatrice’s surprise wedding back in July.

His other daughter Princess Eugenie has just announced she will be expecting a child in early 2021 with her husband, which will make Prince Andrew a grandfather for the first time.

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