It's been just over two weeks since Prince Andrew defied his publicist and subjected himself to a truly disastrous interview about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the sex offender who killed himself after being charged with sex trafficking and abusing dozens of underage girls. As you may have noticed, tabloids in the U.K. and U.S. alike have taken care to ensure that the royal's name has been inescapable ever since. And yet, a Prince Andrew-free zone does in fact exist. The royals and the Trumps have come together to ensure as much, in what just might be the strongest display of unity and determination in British-American relations of the Trump era.
While in London for a meeting with NATO, Donald and Melania Trump dropped by Buckingham Palace on Tuesday to spend some quality time with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Camilla Parker Bowles, along with plenty of world leaders like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. (So much for the empty space left behind by Prince Andrew, who was reportedly "kicked out" of royal headquarters after officially stepping back from public duties last month.) What with all the hustle and bustle as guests commemorated the 70th anniversary, there simply wasn't time to (publicly) broach the topic of the queen's second son.
One might think Trump already had enough on his plate with the impeachment inquiry, but it turns out Prince Andrew is a sticky subject for the president, too—and one he had much less luck avoiding outside of the safe haven of Buckingham Palace. Earlier on Tuesday, when probed on the subject of Andrew, Trump appears to have frantically reverted to his ongoing impression of a particular Mariah Carey meme. "I don’t know Prince Andrew, but it’s a tough story," the president told reporters earlier on Tuesday. "I don’t know him, no."
As was the case with Gordon Sondland, Matthew Whitaker, and other troublesome public figures whom Trump does indeed know, this only served to bring about the Streisand effect. The New York Times quickly unearthed quite a few photographs featuring both Trump and Andrew—most recently this past June, as Prince Andrew documented on his official Twitter account. The royal once even joined the Trumps at their estate in Mar-a-Lago, where they were joined by Epstein and his alleged co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell. (Trump wasn't finished with his shtick just yet: "Jeremy Corbyn? Know nothing about him," he said of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's lead political opponent, whom he strongly denounced just last month.)
Luckily for both the royals and Trumps, Tuesday night provided another distraction from the elephant in the room: Just like Prince Andrew, Melania's arms were nowhere in sight. The first lady opted to spend the night swathed in a giant yellow Valentino cape, with perplexing hints of purple serving as the cherry on top.