Questions persist over how Prince Andrew funded luxury lifestyle

With little in the way of visible support, questions over how the Duke of York has been able to fund his lifestyle have rarely been answered. In the past he has appeared to live the jetset life of a multimillionaire, with holidays aboard luxury yachts, regular golfing sojourns and ski trips to exclusive resorts.

Yet the Queen’s second son’s only publicly known income was the £249,000 a year he received as an allowance to fund his Buckingham Palace office while undertaking royal duties. The allowance was paid by the Queen from the private income she received from the Duchy of Lancaster estate. In addition to this allowance, Andrew would also have a small pension from his time serving with the Royal Navy, a job he left in 2001.

Today, with no royal duties to perform, it is not known what, if anything, he receives from his mother. Forced to step back from public life in November 2019 after the fallout over his car-crash Newsnight interview on his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, he is rarely seen in public.

He owned Sunninghill Park, his former marital home in Windsor. And in 2014 he and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, bought a seven-bedroom chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier.

One source of income, it can be speculated, may have come from the sale of Sunninghill Park, which was bought in 2007 by Timor Kulibayev, the son-in-law of the president of Kazakhstan, for £15m – £3m more than the asking price.

Today, he and Ferguson cohabit at Royal Lodge, a Grade II-listed house in Windsor Great Park and the former residence of the Queen Mother, to which they moved in 2004.

As for the Swiss chalet: in 2020 it was reported to have been put on the market with an asking price of £18.3m. According to the Mail on Sunday, which reported the figure to be exactly what the couple had paid for it six years previously, the property was the subject of legal action between the Yorks and a French socialite.

Andrew’s friendship with David Rowland has featured regularly in speculation over how the duke has managed to maintain his comfortable lifestyle.

The duke was an official guest at the opening of Rowland’s Havilland Bank in Luxembourg in 2009. Two years later, in 2011, it was claimed Rowland had helped to pay off some of Ferguson’s debts.

The Mail on Sunday reported sources close to Ferguson as confirming that Rowland had helped to clear her £5m debts, saying he was one of a number of friends “who rallied round”. At the time, the Duchess’ spokesman said the deal was above board. However, the claim came days after Ferguson admitted a “gigantic error of judgment” in accepting £15,000 from Jeffrey Epstein to help clear her debts.

A spokesperson for Rowland told the newspaper: “Prince Andrew was present at the opening of our bank in 2009 but this has nothing to do with anything other than him supporting a British-owned business abroad as trade envoy.”

In November 2019 the Mail on Sunday said it had conducted an investigation and claimed Andrew was involved in a business venture with the financier, based in a Caribbean tax haven.

It alleged Andrew had allowed Rowland and other members of his family to accompany him on some trade missions while he was then Britain’s “special representative” for trade and investment. Andrew had been forced in 2011 to step down from the role, for which he received no salary but had his expenses and travel costs paid, after mounting criticism over his friendship with Epstein.

Responding to the latest allegations about property sales, a spokesperson for the duke said they did not intend to comment “on the veracity or otherwise” of the assertions made, “other than to state that the duke is entitled to a degree of privacy in conducting his entirely legitimate personal financial affairs, on which all appropriate accounting measures are undertaken and all taxes duly paid.”

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