Despite spending 8 years, 4 months and 15 days, losing approximately 6,800 patriots in battle to gain our independence from King George III, today, strangely, Americans still have a bizarre fascination with the British royal family and one that inexplicably crosses the political aisle. Even now, with the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, aged 99 (18 presidents were elected in his lifetime), every living president has come out to pay their respects.
With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent interview with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Andrew’s questionable behavior and friendships still splashed across the tabloid press, the American obsession with an institution we fought a war to unchain itself from, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. However, American history is still replete with many citizens who went out of their way to cause major problems for the British monarchy.
From publishers, performers, predators, party girls and presidents, there have been many who have sought to be a thorn in the side of the British elite, whether intentional or not. Here are just a few.
Let’s start with the obvious and most recent scandal to rock the royals thanks to an American, and not a pleasant one at that. Although the passing of the Duke and the recent candid interview with Prince Harry and Meghan has somewhat pushed Prince Andrew’s dodgy dalliances to the background, few will forget his connections with the convicted and now suspiciously and conveniently dead Jeffrey Epstein.
The two would meet in the 1990s and over the next 12 years the two would spend time at many of Epstein’s residences, most infamously on his island Little St. James, one that acquired such nicknames as the “Island of Sin,” “Pedophile Island,” and “Orgy Island”. Following Epstein’s arrest, conviction and death in prison, questions would be asked of Prince Andrew’s behavior and involvement in the former financier’s crimes.
Jeffrey Epstein (cont.)
In order to answer those questions, the Prince took to the airwaves in a now infamous and wildly ill-judged interview with the BBC’s Newsnight. When confronted with questions of why he would continue to stay at the residence of a now convicted sex offender and trafficker, the Prince claimed he had only visited Epstein’s apartment after his arrest because it was a “convenient place to stay” and the “honorable” thing to do.
The sheer arrogance, entitlement and complete lack of awareness shown by Andrew in this interview would force the Prince to “step down” from official engagements soon after. However, despite trying to crawl back into the shadows while crossing every finger and toe in hopes this scandal will be somehow forgotten about, US authorities are not so eager to sweep this under a red carpet and will likely have further questions in the not too distant future.
Long before the specter of Epstein, Andrew had already courted controversy, certainly in the eyes of the elder royals and the British press, with his relationship with the American actress Koo Stark. Stark met Andrew in February 1981 at his 21st birthday party and it was reported that the Prince became immediately infatuated with the starlet.
In October 1982, they took a holiday together on the island of Mustique, a place where his aunt Princess Margaret owned a 10-acre plot of land where she built a villa called Les Jolies Eaux. The press soon got wind of this burgeoning relationship, and although enjoying a romantic holiday together in the Caribbean was far from scandalous, one of Stark’s previous acting roles would soon be prime fodder for the British tabloids and the pair would return to London amid a media storm.
Koo Stark (cont.)
In 1976, Stark starred in an erotic movie, dubbed as a kind of a British version of much the raunchier “Emmanuelle”, called “The Awakening of Emily.” The film tells the story of a teenage girl in 1920s London indulging in a series of erotic encounters with men and women, and when the tabloid press got a hold of this, Andrew and Stark’s romance was doomed.
The royal family had already been through the ringer with previous American love interests that had caused a scandal, and would do so again, the Queen, who was apparently “much taken with the elegant, intelligent, and discreet Koo,” pressured Andrew to end the relationship, which he promptly did. The two, however, remain friends to this day, so much so, that not only is Prince Andrew the godfather of Stark’s daughter but Koo sprung to his defense concerning recent events.
Epstein wasn’t the first ‘Stein’ to upset the royal applecart, nor was he the first Jeffrey to cause trouble for the UK’s first family, enter Jeffrey Steinberg. Steinberg wouldn’t throw about accusations of inappropriate friendships or sexual liaisons, but accuse the royal family of outright murder, one that would take place on the night of August 31, 1997.
When Diana Princess of Wales and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed got into their car that night and sped away from the vulturous paparazzi, few could believe that their night would end so tragically in a Paris underpass, Jeffrey Steinberg being one of them. Working as a senior writer for the weekly newsmagazine Executive Intelligence Review, founded in 1974 by the American political activist Lyndon LaRouche, he would be one of the early proponents of the hypothesis that Diana could have been murdered on the orders of the Royal family, Prince Philip in particular.
Jeffrey Steinberg (cont.)
This wouldn’t be the only potshot the magazine would take at the British royal family over the years. The magazine has published stories claiming everything from Queen Elizabeth II being the head of an international drug-smuggling cartel, to accusations of assassinating ‘Gods banker’ Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker who was found hanging from London’s Blackfriars Bridge in 1982 and even that the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 was the first strike in a British attempt to take over the United States.
Steinberg and EIR have long courted controversy with their outlandish claims and although there have been numerous investigations and inquiries that have taken place over the intervening years, with all of them coming to the conclusion that the death of Diana and Dodi was simply the result of a fatal car crash, the fuse that Steinberg lit is still burning today.
After Prince Harry admitted in January 2002 to drinking heavily and smoking marijuana at a bar near his father’s Highgrove estate when he was 16, there would be a minor scandal that would see the young Prince shipped off to Featherstone Lodge Rehabilitation Center for one whole day. But that would be nothing compared to the antics of his great-great uncle and his relationship with an American socialite.
The great-great uncle in question was Prince George, Duke of Kent, fourth son of King George V and considered the original modern royal wild child. The jazz-obsessed, sexually voracious bisexual brother of the future King Edward VIII of England (we’ll get to him), found the royal life stuffy and stifling and would do anything to escape its mundanity, which he would do in spectacular style when he met New York-born Kiki Preston.
Kiki Preston (cont.)
Known as “the girl with the silver syringe” and part of the notoriously hedonistic Happy Valley set in colonial-era Kenya, Preston’s influence on the young Prince would see him become a willing participant of her drug-fueled lifestyle, soon becoming addicted to cocaine and morphine and embroiled in numerous scandalous sexual relations despite being married to Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark.
So enamored (and addicted) was Prince George with his American lover and the lifestyle she afforded him that his brother Edward would eventually have to intervene and force the pair apart, however, not before he apparently fathered an illegitimate son. The lives of both the Prince and the socialite were cut short, with the Prince dying in a military air-crash in suspicious circumstances on 25 August 1942 and Preston throwing herself out of a window of her fifth-floor apartment in the Stanhope Hotel of New York City just four years later on December 23, 1946.
While Kiki Preston’s influence brought down the reputation of a Prince, Wallis Simpson would go one better and bring down a King. Portrayed as the ultimate “gold digger” by the British press, Simpson, the twice divorced American socialite, still remains a controversial figure in British history not just for her relationship with King Edward VIII, but for both their leanings and sympathies towards a certain mustachioed malcontent who would soon sweep through Europe.
The first inkling that the future King was involved with Simpson was in 1934 when staff at Windsor stumbled across Simpson and the Prince of Wales in bed together. Trying to explain to his furious father King George V that it was all a big misunderstanding, any pretenses were dropped when the king passed away on 20 January 1936, and Edward, Prince of Wales, ascended the throne as King Edward VIII.
Wallis Simpson (cont.)
The newly crowned King’s unwavering desire to marry Wallis (some would argue he was irretrievably besotted) would set off a constitutional crisis that would shake the United Kingdom and the monarchy itself to its very core. As the crisis worsened, the then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin threatened to resign, forcing Edward to make a decision. He would choose love over the crown and end his reign as King by abdicating just 326 days after his ascension.
However, recent re-evaluations of events would suggest something other than a love story that cost a King his crown. In July 1940, Edward, now Duke of Windsor, was appointed Governor of the Bahamas and many historians now believe this appointment was to put distance between him, Wallis and the man Edward considered “the right and logical leader of the German people,” Adolf Hitler.
Wallis Simpson (cont.)
It was believed that Hitler was prepared to reinstate Edward as king in the hope of establishing a fascist Britain. So concerned was then President Roosevelt about Edward’s affinity for the Nazi leader that he ordered covert surveillance of the Duke and Duchess when they visited Palm Beach, Florida, in April 1941. At the end of the war, the couple moved to France and spent the remainder of their lives, however, the royal family never fully accepted the Duchess.