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Life’s a pitch
Prince Andrew, Issue 1485
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PALACE COUP: Prince Andrew’s Pitch@Palace roadshow has gone global, with 57 countries now involved
HOW has the grand old Duke of York been filling his days since he was relieved of his official role as UK trade envoy after that unpleasantness with the American paedo?

For three years Prince Andrew languished in the royal wilderness, before coming up with his greatest wheeze yet: Pitch@Palace. Essentially a grand version of The Apprentice, the Pitch roadshow has gone global, with 57 countries now involved and Andy perpetually travelling around to bestow his wisdom. Or that’s what he likes to believe. For the businesses and individuals involved, a bit of royal limelight and the chance to visit Buck House and St James’s Palace are probably more of an attraction.

Andrew’s big brother Brian has been known to drop by at Pitch events, and Brenda even interrupted the President of Colombia’s state visit in 2016 to massage her second son’s ego. There are plenty of other attractions you don’t get on Dragons’ Den. Those who get to pitch at a palace will find scarlet-coated fanfare trumpeters from the Household Division interrupting them with the Countdown theme if they go over their allotted time. This was possibly not the reason these highly trained soldiers joined the army.

Royal trappings
The royal trappings, which he gets free of charge, are a boon to Andy, who, unlike Lord Sugar, doesn’t actually part with any of his own cash. He lines up corporate executives to do that instead. Also, the scheme allows him to almost disappear from the annual reports into royal travel, which always used to reveal him as one of the biggest spenders. Andy has largely transferred the costs to Pitch sponsors, which include KPMG, Standard Chartered, AstraZeneca and Barclays. Since Pitch has also been incorporated into the Prince Andrew Charitable Trust, it is impossible to discern how much is spent on ferrying its grand founder around the world.

Four days after Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October, Andy went on another Pitch odyssey: a fortnight in Abu Dhabi, before heading to China. Then, after spending a week at home for Armistice Day and a Pitch event at Buck House, he was off to Australia for another fortnight, followed by Vietnam. He got back on 5 December and went straight to the Foreign Office (FCO) to show off his tan at a meeting of the overseas territories joint ministerial committee.

Although Pitch is Andy’s big thing, he’s keen to use the FCO to help his ends. It is obliged to come up with a set of general royal engagements to mix in with his Pitch events. That means embassies overseas are available to him and presidents and potentates can be lined up for some photo-ops – but the timing isn’t always ideal. The last thing the monarchy needed in November was another royal in Australia, just weeks after Harry and Meghan had got back.

Senior royals on overseas trips are usually accompanied by FCO experts – but not Andy. That explains why, just days after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, he was up on his hind legs in Abu Dhabi extolling the virtues of Saudi Arabia and his desire to get Pitch established there. At least when King Brian carries out his threat to slim down the royal family, Andy will have something to do – and, more importantly, someone to pay his bills.

’Flunkey’

More top stories in the latest issue:

COBRA RATTLED
The civil contingency secretariat appeals across Whitehall for civil servants to staff its offices 24/7 from February for 12 weeks. Er, time to panic?

SHORTING OFFICE
It’s not just short-selling Brexiteers cashing in on last week’s stock market dive: George Osborne’s generous chums at BlackRock bet big on economic gloom.

SUMMIT’S OWN COAL!
Greenwash aplenty at the recent climate change conference in Poland where sponsors included… mega-coal miners and oil refiners!

IDS’S PASTA SAUCE
Iain Duncan Smith’s Christmas photo op donating pasta to a food bank is a bit rich given the former welfare secretary’s past dealings with the Trussell Trust.

WORLD OF SPORT
Man City’s support for the Rainbow Laces anti-homophobia campaign may fall on deaf ears in the United Arab Emirates, where the club’s owner is deputy PM.

BEANCOUNTER CULTURE
Despite shocking audit failures (Carillion, Deutsche Bank), accountancy firm KPMG ends the year as living proof that ‘nothing succeeds like failure’.

NOOKS & CORNERS
The planned glass high-rise from starchitects Foster & Partners that threatens what’s left in Whitechapel High Street conservation area.

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Comic relief
Entire pages of cartoons NOT about Brexit!

Silence in church
Gagging orders and the C of E

Cobra rattled
Civil servants prepare for chaos from February

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Private Eye Issue 1484