Prince Andrew is reported to have had a meeting with the Queen on Tuesday, to discuss the storm of criticism surrounding him and his role as UK trade envoy. The prince was already facing criticism over his links to Colonel Gaddafi's son, when his friendship with a convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein brought him more unwanted attention. He was forced to admit that the friendship had been 'unwise', but more revelations are keeping him in the news.
On Thursday the Ministry of Defence confirmed that Jeffrey Epstein landed his private jet at an RAF fighter base during a visit to the prince at Sandringham, though they say it is 'not unusual' for civilians to use the base.
Now it has been revealed that on Monday he met with Westminster MP Mark Field, who chairs the All-Parliamentary Group on Azerbaijan, to discuss promoting investment into the country. The regime in Azerbaijan, led by President Ilham Aliyev has been criticised by Amnesty International, who appealed to Prince Andrew to intervene on behalf of a newspaper editor, Eynulla Fetullayev who is serving a prison sentence on what the rights group say are 'fabricated charges'. His father, Emin Fetullayev said in a statement:
Mark Field defended the Princes' involvement, saying:
There were also reports in Thursday's papers linking the Prince to the potential sale of Eurofighter Typhoons to Indonesia, a country which was banned from buying British arms 12 years ago after allegations the British-built jets were used to bomb civilians.
Prince Andrew did visit Indonesia in March 2008, as part of his ongoing international visits programme, working on behalf of UK Trade and Investment, the government's export promotion body.
A spokesman at UKTI told Channel 4 News in response:
Last July the Prince visited the Farnborough Airshow, a major showpiece of the UK arms industry, in his role as trade representative, meeting senior figures from the Jordanian, Malaysian and Indian defence ministries.
Campaign against the Arms Trade has lobbied for several years for the closure of the part of UKTI that deals with arms trade. Kaye Stearman at CAAT told Channel 4 News that Prince Andrew is part of what they see as a wider problem. She said:
The Prince's spokesman today refused to comment on press reports that he had a meetinng with the Queen to discuss the ongoing criticism.