According to the Foreign Office’s response to royal biographer Andrew Lownie’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request, files relating to Prince Andrew and his actions will not be revealed until 2065.
The Duke, who was forced to resign as a working member of the Royal Family following reports about his acquaintance with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, will almost certainly dodge any public review of the papers unless he lives to be 105.
Andrew has strongly and continuously disputed allegations made by Virginia Giuffre that he sexually assaulted her when she was 17 and was smuggled into the UK by Mr Epstein, who died in prison in 2019.
Mr. Lownie, who is working on his next book about the Prince, criticized the lack of information about Andrew’s affairs as he sought clarification on the business trips Andrew took while serving as the UK’s special representative for trade and industry.
According to him, there is a “culture of secrecy” surrounding royal correspondence, and the Firm should still be “subject to scrutiny” like everyone else.
Mr. Lownie said: “Members of the Royal Family are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act but I would hope with a new reign that only pertinent FOI exemptions such as national security, relations with another country, information given in confidence, etc. will be applied alongside data protection considerations.
“We are in the absurd position that Prince Harry can reveal the most intimate details of royal life from months ago for personal commercial gain and Royal households currently brief against each other, yet historians cannot look at files.”
He went on to say that it was “extraordinary” that the files would not be made public until 2065, despite the “public interest” in scrutinizing Andrew’s dealings.
The biographer explained: “Many questions remain about his role as trade envoy, a public appointment paid for by the taxpayer, and his associations with figures such as Jeffrey Epstein.
“There is also a strong public interest in knowing, for example, who is paying for his security now he is no longer a working royal.”
When it comes to the release of information, the royals are accorded special treatment, as papers handed to The National Archives at Kew from government agencies are normally kept secret for only 20 years.
The 63-year-old Duke served as the UK’s special ambassador for trade and industry envoy since 2001, but he was forced to leave in 2011 after photographs of him meeting with Epstein surfaced, just after the billionaire had finished an 18-month sentence for sexual offenses.
He was also questioned about his “very close” friendships with Saif Gaddafi, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and Tarek Kaituni, a convicted Libyan gun smuggler.
Despite his departure from public life, Andrew continues to live at Royal Lodge with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, where he has lived for the past 20 years.
He also appears to be re-entering the royal circle, as he was spotted at Balmoral with King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince William, and Princess Kate at the end of last month.