The morning after Prince Andrew’s disastrous BBC interview, he achieved the nearly impossible: steering the national conversation away from Brexit after three interminable years. But serious questions remained. Had the eighth in line to the throne just lied through his teeth, or was he guilty of spectacularly bad judgment?

I have met Andrew several times over the years, and his reputation as a blundering and arrogant buffoon is not without foundation. One of my friends described him as a man with “all the airs and graces of royalty, but none of their superiority—he lacks Eton charm.” I witnessed this boorishness firsthand at a lunch I attended in his honor in the mid-aughts in Condé Nast U.K.’s Vogue House boardroom, hosted by the division’s then head, Nicholas Coleridge. Andrew was awkward and uneasy in a group conversation, but that didn’t stop him from giving an unsolicited 30-minute monologue to the eight editors present on the difficulties of reversing a tanker into port. He was so clearly used to being heard that he never learned to listen or to read the room.

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