Unless you have been asleep and/or nursing a hangover since New Year’s Day, you will be aware that during our various Covid lockdowns several parties have been held at No. 10 Downing Street (likely soon to be renamed Down Gin Street?) which should not have happened. Likewise, the Queen has stripped Prince Andrew of a host of military affiliations and royal patronages on account of the fact that he had been keeping some acquaintances which should not have happened. Which leads us on to the golf. 

Among the golf-related patronages held by the Duke of York (for it is the same) were three in Northern Ireland: Royal Belfast, Royal County Down and Royal Portrush, the latter of which hosted the Open Championship in 2019, an occasion attended by Prince Andrew. One source told The Times that with regard to those three clubs: “There will be immense relief by members that this decision [to remove him] has been taken out of their hands.” The former HRH does, however, remain an honorary member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. The Open will be staged for the 150th time this coming July, over the Old Course at St Andrews. If it had ever been considered I think it is now safe to assume Prince Andrew will not be asked to hand over the claret jug to the 2022 ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’.

Prior to the fall-out from his friendships with the late Jeffrey Epstein and the imprisoned Ghislaine Maxwell, there were 24 golf-related affiliations listed on the Royal Family’s website in connection with Prince Andrew. The Queen took the action she did on Thursday January 13. By the beginning of this week (I wasn’t so sad or so consumed by the subject that I kept checking over the weekend), they all appear to have gone. In addition to the aforementioned ones in Ireland there were such organisations as the Royal Auxiliary Golfing Society; Royal Blackheath, the oldest golf club in England; and Royal Liverpool, another course that is on the present rota for hosting the Open.

It seems the scale-back on his association with golf even includes him no longer being  a patron of the Royal Household Golf Club, whose course is set in the grounds of the Royal Family’s Windsor estate. That really is a punishment close to home! Also apparently gone missing is his patronage of the 100-year-old Lucifer Golfing Society, which has absolutely nothing to do with Satan even if some people who came across Prince Andrew via a nexus through Epstein and/or Maxwell may think devilry had been at work. Whatever, Prince Andrew apparently retains his service rank of Vice-Admiral. Appropriate, perhaps?

I’m not sure if this is quite amusing or somewhat sinister but until at least a few days ago Prince Andrew was a patron of Sunningdale Ladies’ Golf Club. BTW, my working assumption is that Virginia Giuffre does not play golf. We know Jeffrey Epstein no longer does.

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