Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) have debated a motion entitled “This House prefers Prince Andrew to Meghan Markle.” The motion, which was presented at an Association Port and Policy event on January 25, was allegedly passed by a significant margin.
Prince Andrew has been immersed in controversy over his relationship with the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in his jail cell in August of last year whilst awaiting sentencing for sex trafficking.
After an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight, the Prince was effectively forced to relinquish his royal duties and retreat from public life.
Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has recently retreated from royal duties alongside her husband Prince Harry, with the intention of splitting their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
In a statement last month, the Duke and Duchess said: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.
“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.
“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”
The pair’s decision has sparked virulent controversy, including last month’s debate at the CUCA. Other motions debated at the event were “This House Would Scrap the BBC License Fee” and “This House Supports a Nuclear Iran.”
The Prince Andrew and Meghan Markle debate was the last of the evening. One attendee told The Tab that “most people weren’t sober after the second motion.”
The controversy over Prince Andrew’s close relationship with Epstein took off following his interview with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis.
In the interview, the Prince admitted he does not regret his close relationship with Epstein, stating “the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn, either by him or because of him, were actually very useful.”
He denied allegations made by Virginia Giuffre (now Roberts) that she had sexual relations with Prince Andrew after being sex trafficked to him by Epstein in 2001.
Prince Andrew said Giuffre’s accusation of him sweating during the encounter meant her version of events could not be true, as he had a medical condition that prevented him from sweating at the time.
He told Maitlis: “I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when I was shot at and I simply … it was almost impossible for me to sweat,”
Prince further criticised the authenticity of a photograph taken of him and Giuffre in 2001. “I don’t believe it’s a picture of me in London because … when I go out in London, I wear a suit and a tie,” he said.
“That’s what I would describe as… those are my travelling clothes… if I’m going overseas.”
The claim was made despite the fact newspapers have previously pictured Prince Andrew on a night out in London wearing jeans without a tie or blazer.
The Prince said: “nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken.”
He also provided an alibi for the events of March 10, 2001, saying he went to a Pizza Express in Woking with his daughter. He remembered the occasion as “weirdly distinct” as it was one of the few times he’d been to Woking or to the Pizza Express there, making it, in his own words, “a very unusual thing for me to do”.
The Duchess’ retreat from public life seems to have been as controversial, if not more so, than the Prince’s. Many have suggested that the backlash to Markle has been down to racism.
The Daily Mail has referred to Markle’s “exotic DNA” and described her as “almost straight outta Compton.”
The BBC fired radio presenter Danny Baker after he tweeted, following the birth of the couple’s son Archie last year, a picture of a chimpanzee holding hands with a couple. He captioned it “Royal Baby leaves hospital.”
Last month, This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes attacked Markle as “awful, woke, weak, manipulative, spoilt and irritating … I look at her and I think, ‘I don’t think I would like you in real life.’”
CUCA has a history of inviting figures from the right of the political spectrum, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Godfrey Bloom, Arron Banks and Peter Bone.
Former chairmen of the CUCA include Ken Clarke (Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1993-97), Douglas Hurd (Foreign Secretary from 1989-95), and Norman Lamont (Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1990-93).
CUCA did not respond to a request for comment for this story.