Stunning, ain’t it? Go figure that the man who was so concerned over acting honourably in breaking up with his former pal that he spent four days in Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion to let him down easy suddenly can’t see the honour in fulfilling his public pledge to cooperate with investigators. Why, it’s as if people who enjoy the company of sex traffickers turn out to be highly unreliable!

Prosecutors still investigating Epstein’s crimes publicly complained in January that Prince Andrew was talking out of both sides of his mouth when he pledged to cooperate. Now they’re talking about “options” on the table to force the royal to answer their questions:

“Contrary to Prince Andrew’s very public offer to cooperate with our investigation into Epstein’s co-conspirators, an offer that was conveyed via press release, Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said, adding that his office is “considering its options.”

Federal investigators have been trying for months to speak with Andrew, a longtime friend of Epstein who has been accused by one alleged victim of sexual abuse. …

It’s unusual for a federal prosecutor to comment on whether a particular person is cooperating in an investigation, but earlier this year Berman said that he decided to do so in part because of Andrew’s public statement expressing a willingness to assist in the investigation.

“He publicly offered, indeed in a press release, offered to cooperate with law enforcement investigating the crimes committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his co-conspirators,” Berman said at a news conference in late January, adding that Andrew had yet provided “zero cooperation.”

Buckingham Palace, where Prince Andrew pointedly no longer has any offices, declined to explain Andrew’s reneging on his pledge. They are referring reporters to Andrew’s lawyers, who are *ahem* used to high-profile crisis interventions:

Buckingham Palace said then it would not comment and the matter was being dealt with by the prince’s legal team. Contacted on Monday, a Palace spokeswoman said: “The issue is being dealt with by the Duke of York’s legal team.”

Buckingham Palace has consistently refused to reveal any details of Andrew’s legal team but the Duke has reportedly hired Clare Montgomery, a senior barrister at Matrix Chambers, whose clients have included Augusto Pinochet, Chile’s former dictator, and Shrien Dewani, charged with and acquitted of murdering his wife in South Africa. She also prosecuted the Metropolitan police over the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, shot dead in a failed anti-terror operation. …

In a December interview with the BBC, the accuser, Virginia Giuffre, now 35, called Andrew’s denial “BS”.

“He knows what happened,” she said. “I know what happened, and there’s only one of us telling the truth, and I know that’s me.”

So what exactly are the options for the Department of Justice and the FBI? Calling them limited might be an understatement. Neither the FBI nor the DoJ has any jurisdiction over British subjects, and especially not over British royals. They could still issue a subpoena, or even a material-witness warrant, but (a) good luck getting a judge to approve the latter, and (b) good luck in enforcing either one. Unless Prince Andrew makes the colossal error of traveling to the US for the rest of his life, he’s safely out of reach — legally speaking, anyway.

Politically, of course, this is an utter nightmare for the royals. They’re already under fire for Harry and Meghan’s self-imposed ejection to Canada, plus all of the usual post-Diana baggage over the anachronistic qualities of a ceremonial monarchy. Harry and Meghan don’t see the value in it, it seems, and Prince Andrew makes it look like more trouble than it’s worth now. The only asset that the monarchy has will turn 94 next month, and when she’s gone so will be any excuse to perpetuate the institution.