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Randy Andy

TAKING SIDES

By Sarah Paul

PITY Prince Andrew, age 22. All he wanted, as the British are so lond of saying, was to have a little fun But when mommy and grandma are queens, and your older brother has just married the virgin next door, fun of the sort the Prince sought last week in the Caribbean can be difficult to come by.

Not that we can blame him for trying While Charles and Diana reinvented parenthood to the delight of millions back home, the middle scion of the House of Windsor was shivering in the Falklands, living proof (supposedly) that royalty really can be useful in a pinch. The local tabloids weren't being particularly attentive either. Although the British turned out in the thousands to welcome home the Carrier Invincible (Andrew's station), the press has lavished considerably more attention on the newest member of the royal family, little William. And the handsome Andrew, who enjoys dropping in unexpectedly at racy London hot-spots and dating voluptuous celebrities (including last year's Miss United Kingdom), is nothing if not just a little bit fond of the press.

Nevertheless, it was a trifle name of him to think that a tropical tryst with a former porn star would escape at least some parental censure. When a vacationing photographer for the London Daily Mail spotted the prince and playmate Katherine "Koo" Stark on a flight to Barbados, all hell was bound to break loose. The photographer called the office, received orders to cancel his vacation and follow the prince instead, and was soon joined by a multitude of Fleet Street Johnies eager to cash in on the scoop.

The reports from home were decidedly unfavourable. As Andrew and Koo gamboled about Mustique, a tiny island paradise belonging to the Princess Margaret (herself the focus of considerable scandal over the years). Buckingham Palace was keeping busy fielding questions and making surprisingly forthright statements. At first, palace spokesmen claimed that the Queen was upset with her son only because he had "sneaked off" without telling after she left for Australia. But the palace was more explicitly outraged later in the week. All I can say is that the queen is furious at his indiscretion and his lack of honesty in explaining who or what his girlfriend is," sputtered one staff member.

That she was the 25-year-old daughter of a Hollywood producer, the star of two soft-corn porn flicks in which she engaged in lesbian sex and was sodomized and raped by grave robbers didn't seem to bother "Randy Andy," as he is now known in London: considering his track record, this is hardly surprising. That the juicy details of Koo's past (remember--Lady Di had no past) should bother the lad's mother isn't really surprising either--Koo's not exactly a nice girl.

Yet if the prince, currently third in line for the throne, will persist in behaving like a spoiled and naughty playboy (he didn't have to choose a porn star) it should be his own affair. After all, what else does he have to do? The war is over. His responsibilities in the royal family are purely ceremonial: the burden of acting as an upstanding example for the British public falls mainly on his parents' and brother's shoulders.

In truth, when Prince Andrew took Koo down to Mustique last week he was only fulfilling the world's expectation of a hot-shot younger son with cash to spare. The British nobility have always had trouble dealing with this animal, and it looks like they still haven't solved the problem, Helicopter piloting (Andrew's current avocation) seems hardly the answer.

Yet amid all this mess of sneaking journalists (two were arrested for getting too close), mysterious aliases (the lovers travelled under the names Mr. and Mrs. Cambridge) and aborted assignations (Koo was apparently smuggled off the Island early because of the uproar) there is one Rose of optimism--from Koo's mother, interviewed by the London Daily Express last week, the 62-year-old Mrs. Caruso defended the prince and her daughter. Andrew behind "like a prince in every sense of the word," she said. "I should know what went on. I was there the entire time." It just hasn't been a great year for the monarchy.

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