The Prince, Paedos and a Da Vinci Code Peer
A hereditary peer could be the key to unlocking Prince Andrew’s alibi for the night he is accused of sexual assault on a trafficked seventeen-year-old girl.
Lord Peter Loughborough, the 7th Earl of Rosslyn, is probably the poshest copper to have served in the Metropolitan police.
For the last twelve of his thirty-four years in the force, Eton-educated Loughborough served as the commander in charge of Royalty Protection.
He took over shortly after Andrew’s alleged sexual assault on Virginia Roberts at the London mews house of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in March 2001.
Ten years later, Loughborough was still at the helm when The Mail on Sunday first published Roberts’ testimony alongside this now infamous photo allegedly taken at Maxwell’s home.
Loughborough retired from the Met in 2014 to run the affairs of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, a position he still holds, which means that throughout the sex scandal he has remained in close contact with the royal household, the police and the government while looking after the future monarch.
Loughborough’s hereditary seat in the House of Lords is Rosslyn Castle in Scotland. Its chapel was made internationally famous by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code as the place where the Holy Grail is buried.
Although historians have debunked that conspiracy theory, Loughborough has seen an upsurge in paying commoners flocking to his Midlothian tourist attraction and gift shop.
The Upsetter put a series of questions to the peer about Prince Andrew’s alibi, which like the Da Vinci Code is also looking like hokus pokus.
Moreso since the Queen stripped her so-called favourite son of His Royal Highness title last month.
That strategic announcement was intended to minimise any impact on yesterday’s Platinum jubilee marking the Queen’s seventy years on the throne.
Her decision to defenestrate Andrew was likely a last resort and taken after heavy scrutiny of the available evidence to see if there was anything persuasive to support his alibi.
In the end, the Queen cut him adrift as he faces a civil action in the US for the teenage rape and sexual assault of Virginia Roberts.
Andrew is set to be deposed on 10 March by her US lawyers. The date marks a darker anniversary – twenty one years to the day since the alleged sexual abuse in London.
Her lawyers will test every aspect of Andrew’s alibi for the night of 10 March 2001, the details of which first emerged during a carefully stage managed but disastrous interview he gave to the BBC in November 2019.
It was an alibi that in the words of Sex Pistol John Lydon took the British public for morons and resulted in no future for Andrew.
Roberts claims that Maxwell and Epstein pimped her out to the royal on three occasions, once in London and twice in the United States.
She says she danced with the sweaty prince, then 41, at the high society London nightclub Tramp, before having sex with him at Maxwell’s house down the road in Mayfair.
Andrew denies this and briefed the media that the photo with his arm around Roberts’ teenage waist is somehow doctored, a suggestion so far without forensic proof which she denies – although the original has yet to be produced to the Prince’s legal team.
At the time of the alleged sexual assault, Andrew was long divorced from the scandal prone Sarah Ferguson and living with his mum at Buckingham Palace.
He told the BBC that he had collected Beatrice, 12, the eldest of their two daughters, from a birthday party at Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey during the afternoon of 10 March.
He says he stayed all night at Sunninghill Park, the princesses’ residence, because Fergie was away.
Andrew also famously claims that he had lost the ability to sweat soon after being fired at during the 1982 Falklands War, where he served in the Royal Navy as a helicopter pilot.
The royal alibi has so far not been completely shot down, but it is significant that with so much at stake no royal protection officer who body-guarded the prince and princesses on the day and night in question nor anyone from within the Met’s royal protection squad has come forward to support it.
At the time, the squad was part of Met special operations and known as SO14. It was split into two types of armed royal protection officer.
SO14 (1) cops wore Met uniforms when guarding the various palaces and patrolling royal residences across the UK. They are most visible to the public on the gates of Buckingham Palace opening and closing the barriers as the royals and their guests come and go.
SO14 (2) are Personal Protection Officers or PPOs who do close protection of individual royals. They wear plain clothes, depending on the event, and drive royals to their duties, social occasions and accompany them abroad.
Former SO14 officers say they were not coppers in the sense they no longer had a duty to protect the public. Their duty was to protect the royals and this can mean showing discretion towards indiscretion – a three wise monkeys approach.
In the case of Andrew and Beatrice, their PPOs would have been with them at the Pizza Express and Sunninghill Park or Tramp and chez Maxwell depending on whose version of events you believe.
There would have been security plans made ahead of these trips and paperwork and computer entries stored at Buckingham Gate, the office from where the royal protection squad is managed, say SO14 sources.
It is not disputed that Andrew was a guest of Epstein, even after his June 2008 guilty plea to soliciting sex from an underage girl. The Prince’s claim that he spent three days at the New York town house to break off his association with Epstein has been widely ridiculed.
Once again, the Prince’s PPO would have been at his side in sombre suit and Bermuda shorts for this visit and the one to the prolific paedophile’s beach estate in the US Virgin Islands, where Roberts alleges the other sexual assault took place.
The reaction of lame duck Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to all this has been yet another disappointment.
The Met conducted three reviews into whether it should investigate Roberts’ allegations and those of others against Andrew, Epstein and Maxwell. The force concluded that it shouldn’t because, well, the alleged sexual offences mainly took place abroad.
Bad news for women, but then they are used to it from a force with a woeful record investigating sexual assaults and a misogynist culture that is also failing female officers and the wives and girlfriends of cops on the receiving end of a fist or controlling behaviour.
A spokesperson for the Met said:
“In January 2015 the Metropolitan Police Service was contacted by a third-party following media reports concerning Jeffery Epstein. The MPS reviewed and considered the information provided. In May 2015, the MPS was contacted by representatives of a person who made allegations of non-recent trafficking for sexual exploitation against a US national, Jeffrey Epstein, and a British woman relating to events outside of the UK and an allegation of trafficking to central London in March 2001.
Officers assessed the available evidence, interviewed the complainant and obtained early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service. Following the legal advice, it was clear that any investigation into human trafficking would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the UK. Officers therefore concluded that the MPS was not the appropriate authority to conduct enquiries in these circumstances and, in November 2016, a decision was made that this matter would not proceed to a full criminal investigation.
That decision was reviewed following the death of Jeffrey Epstein in August 2019. In November 2019 the MPS confirmed that it would remain unchanged. In December 2019 the MPS was contacted by representatives of another person regarding allegations of sexual assault against Jeffrey Epstein. Officers spoke to this person in February 2020 and recorded their allegations. However, the person did not make a formal statement or wish officers to pursue the allegations. No investigation was commenced.
As a matter of procedure MPS officers reviewed a document released in August 2021 as part of a US civil action. This review has concluded and we are taking no further action. We also reviewed information passed to us by a media organisation in June 2021. This review is complete and no further action will be taken. The MPS continues to liaise with other law enforcement agencies who lead the investigation into matters related to Jeffrey Epstein.”
However, the Met refused to say which department and who conducted the reviews and whether it was the same officer on all three occasions.
Asked if the reviews searched SO14 records and databases and whether the PPOs and SO14 (1) officers on duty at the relevant times were identified and interviewed, the Met also refused to say.
And what about Lord Loughborough?
The peer’s time in charge of royal protection from 2002 to 2014 was mired by major security scandals. Fathers For Justice activists dressed as Batman and Robin and a comic dressed as Osama Bin Laden got into Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle respectively.
The media also made fools of SO14 security and vetting procedures. Undercover reporters got within striking distance of the royals and one was employed as the Queen’s footman for two months.
Meanwhile, The News of The World accessed the phone messages of royal aides to Prince William and Prince Harry sparking a major covert police investigation and the arrest and conviction of the royal editor and a dark arts merchant whose activities led to the hacking scandal that later brought down the Sunday tabloid.
Another victim was Tom Parker Bowles, the son of Prince Charles’ long-term-mistress who became his wife and was yesterday officially recognised as the ‘Queen consort’ in waiting.
Perhaps it is a sign of how highly Loughborough is regarded by the royals that he was not sacked, nor did he resign, over these major security breaches. In fact, the Queen gave him a medal and Charles and Camilla employed him as master of their household.
There was also a massive corruption scandal at SO14 on Loughborough’s watch. The police constable behind it went on to reveal details about Prince Andrew’s conduct at Buckingham palace that are highly relevant today.
SO14 PC Paul Page was jailed in 2009 but not before he spoke exclusively to The Upsetter about what he had seen. Page happily broke the code of silence expected of him as part of a fuck-all-of-youse defence to a £3m fraud charge associated with a Ponzi scheme called the Currency Club that he ran across the royal palaces.
Page had transferred to SO14 after a stint at Essex Constabulary and then as a beat officer at the Met where he admitted practising a brand of ‘dirty Harry’ style policing. This involved beating up local muggers, thieves and persistent miscreants who it was felt were taking the piss out of the police.
Such vigilante ‘justice’ was dispensed from a police van called ‘the mobile classroom’ where repeat offenders were taught a lesson the courts could not. Offenders were kidnapped off the streets, given a good hiding, then dumped far away from the cop shop.
Page was also a talented sportsman with an aptitude for karate. He’d fought for the England youth team and the Met poached him from Essex police because of it.
The subsequent move from street cop to an armed one at Buckingham Palace was down to an old boys’ network of Freemasons and chaps who felt Page’s face fit – there was also a vacancy for a SO14 fitness instructor.
Far from an elite squad, Page found SO14 (1) a Dad’s Army of the lazy, the time servers, the easy lifers and weirdoes. Then there were the entrepreneurs and piss takers who saw the job as an opportunity to make money first and protect the royal family second.
The Currency Club started as a hedge fund for royal cops to invest in a property portfolio offering returns beyond the dreams of avarice and financial logic. But Page was using deposits to spread bet with, and when he started losing he paid old investors their returns from new investors’ money.
The Ponzi scheme grew to include SO14 officers based at other palaces, members of the Royal Household and civilians, including criminals. Police cars ferried cash and colleagues covered for Page while he bet on the markets to generate returns.
Finally, some out of pocket investors took a contract out on the royal cop, while others complained to the Met’s anti-corruption squad. Page was offered a deal to quietly resign so as not to cause the royal family and Met any embarrassment.
He refused and drafted a defence to fraud charges that exposed all he knew about the wider SO14 culture that had allowed the Currency Club to thrive at Buckingham Palace.
The defence case statement, prepared in August 2008, said there was “an agreed understanding that what happened at Royalty stayed at Royalty.” Not any more.
Page revealed a ring round system to alert officers asleep on night duty that the boss was doing his rounds; SO14 officers who traded porn and steroids from the palace, others nicknamed ‘Roy the Rapist’ and ‘Monkey Boy’ and the regular wheeze during night duty of striking gangster poses while having photos taken on the throne.
But the most damaging recollections Page included in his defence were those about Prince Andrew. He was the most loathed of all the royals because of his bullying, rude and arrogant manner, the royal cop claimed.
Most relevant to the current sex scandal were claims concerning Ghislaine Maxwell and other women visiting the Prince.
After seeing Andrew and Maxwell have a “lavish picnic” in the gardens directly opposite the Queen’s bedroom, Page said he and other SO14 officers would “wave her through” into the Palace and after a while “formed the opinion they were in an intimate relationship.”
The defence case statement put it this way:
It was not just the Royalty Protection officers who abused their position, members of the Royal Household also frequently did. The biggest culprit was Prince Andrew. [He] would often have lady friends come to visit him, including frequent visits by Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the disgraced late Robert Maxwell. Very rarely would they have to sign in the ‘gate book’ when entering the Palace grounds, in direct contravention of accepted protocol. In addition royalty officers would be told on occasion to drive these ‘lady friends’ home when that was a clear dereliction of their duties. When on occasions [officers] challenged Prince Andrew and/or his guests [he] was verbally abusive. Any complaints made to the department were not properly dealt with.
An anti-corruption detective sent a summary of the defence case statement to a Gold Group of Met officers from SO14 and other departments concerned about the impact on their reputation and that of the royals.
A few months earlier in June 2008, Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting underage sex in the US. Andrew had not distanced himself from the paedophile when Page’s defence case statement arrived.
The Met, Palace and Crown Prosecution Service unsuccessfully tried to stop The Upsetter writing about it in The Times. They claimed the content was “totally irrelevant” but never said any of it was untrue.
The article appeared in December 2008. The trial judge tried to make the newspaper take down the online version but this was also resisted.
Page was planning to call Lord Loughborough at his trial. The SO14 commander had just been gonged by the Queen for services to royal protection in the New Year’s Honours List.
In the end, the trial judge refused to allow Loughborough to be cross-examined about the contents of Page’s defence case statement. In fact, Page was slapped down every time he mentioned scandal and Prince Andrew in front of the jury.
In July 2009, he was justly found guilty of the fraud. The judge gave him six years, in part for the way he had run his defence.
There was, however, no internal investigation into Page’s claims about his colleagues and Prince Andrew.
In 2014, Loughborough retired from the Met to work for Prince Charles. The following year, The Upsetter published the full story in his book For Queen & Currency.
Since then, news media from across the globe have approached Page to tell all about Andrew and Ghislaine, especially after her conviction for sex trafficking last December and the earlier prison death of Epstein while awaiting trial on similar charges.
Reflecting on the many instances of abusive behaviour by Prince Andrew over letting in female guests, Page said:
“I made a number of complaints to my inspector and it was a case of ‘it is what it is.’ The general consensus was he was the Queen’s favourite and none of the Royal Household would dare complain because of this.
In the time I was there I’m aware of a dozen complaints officers made to supervisors about bullying and abusive behaviour but there was fear amongst the squad of pushing back too hard because there was a chance you could end up walking the beat in Brixton the next day.”
In 2020, a second former royal protection officer at Buckingham Palace came forward to challenge Andrew’s alibi. He asked to remain anonymous but gave The Upsetter and Mail on Sunday a sworn affidavit.
The highly respected and decorated police constable joined SO14 in January 2000 and worked there until retiring in December 2009. He said:
“From my direct experience of Prince Andrew, the difference between him and the other royals is that he doesn’t ever tell us what he’s doing. He always feels the police are prying and we shouldn’t know things. We shouldn’t be writing stuff down about his guests, that it is nothing to do with us, that we are prying. We’re just trying to do our job and make sure people get in who are allowed in and intruders don’t.
I remember Maxwell visiting once when I was on duty. She just turned up without an appointment, her name was not in the security book, and we were told to let her in. I remember Maxwell’s visit because SO14 seemed to be having this period in 2000-2001 where Prince Andrew had all these women coming in unannounced.
I watched Prince Andrew’s BBC interview on 19 November 2019. It was the first time the prince gave an alibi for Saturday 10 March 2001. The BBC interview stirred a memory of an incident when Prince Andrew was abusive to me on night duty at Buckingham Palace.
I have never forgotten the abusive incident and immediately complained to my superior. Other officers on night duty would have heard the abuse Prince Andrew subjected me to because it was done on the police radio wavelength which the entire relief was tuned into.
The reasons I believe the confrontation with Prince Andrew was likely to have taken place on 10 March 2001 are as follows: It was such an unusual occurrence that I am certain happened early on in my posting to Buckingham Palace which began in January 2000. Also, it definitely coincided with the period between 2000 and 2001 when Prince Andrew had women turning up unannounced at Buckingham Palace.
March 10 2001 was a Saturday. I worked Saturdays and weekends from the start of my time at SO14. I regularly worked earlies, lates and nights – seven nights in a row.
The abusive confrontation with Prince Andrew happened when I was on late duty on the North Centre Gate through which cars enter and leave Buckingham Palace. I remember Prince Andrew leaving the palace in the evening that night. I believe he was in a green Jaguar.
The Prince told the BBC he had taken Princess Beatrice to a party at Pizza Express in Woking at about 5pm and then spent all night at Sunninghill Park with his two daughters. If I am correct, Prince Andrew could have returned to Buckingham Palace from Pizza Express or Sunninghill Park in the early evening. Then he left, went to Tramp and Maxwell’s house, which is very close to the palace, and returned to his private quarters in the early hours of the morning.
Much of the evidence that would prove or disprove what Virginia Roberts and I are saying is held by the Metropolitan police in its human resources department and the Royalty Protection department. These include sickness records, duty rosters, annual leave, advance security checks ahead of royal visits, security plans for royal visits, palace appointment books, especially for the North Centre Gate. There must be so many files. There’s got to be. With the police everything is written down.
Shift patterns were organised by the Duties Office. I think maybe a week before you work you actually get your actual positions on a certain night for the week ahead. PPOs would have similar duty rosters. It would not be difficult for the names of Prince Andrew’s PPOs to be known and for their duty rosters to reveal where they were on any day or night.”
The retired police constable made a Freedom of Information request to the Met for his personnel records that could show whether the incident with Prince Andrew was on 10 March 2001.
After five months, he was finally told the relevant files had been shredded.
Duty of Candour
The Upsetter sent Loughborough a list questions to his Rosslyn Castle website address as he has no footprint at the House of Lords. Parliamentary records show the 63-year-old hereditary peer last voted in 2007, has spoken in a debate only once in 2009 and never asked a written question.
Loughborough had ignored an earlier interview request in 2014 for my book on the Paul Page scandal, so the chances seemed remote that he would engage this time, despite an arguable duty of candour as a former senior police officer and parliamentarian in the face of such serious allegations against a member of the royal family.
He was asked:
As SO14 Commander what had he done about the bullying complaints against Prince Andrew and his insistence that officers ignore security protocols for female guests?
Was he aware of Prince Andrew’s relationship with Epstein and Maxwell and did he advise royal family members about it? Did any SO14 officers directly or indirectly alert him to any inappropriate conduct?
Did any of the three Met reviews into the sex trafficking allegations speak to him?
Did he believe Andrew’s alibi and if so why?
The Da Vinci Code peer did not respond. So for now his views remain a mystery and he, for some reason, remains in the House of Lords.
Perhaps Virginia Roberts’ lawyers might stand a better chance of getting him to open up when they come over next month to take a deposition from Prince Andrew.
In their letter of introduction to Lord Loughborough, 7th Earl of Rosslyn, CVO, QPM they might quote the Latin inscription on his beloved Chapel:
“Truth Conquers All”
And so it goes.