Prince Andrew’s Other Pedophile Friend: Prep School Priest Who Came to His 1986 Wedding to Sarah Ferguson

By Martha Ross
Mercury News
September 18, 2019

Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, attends a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bruges on September 7, 2019 in Bruges. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Pollsters have ranked Prince Andrew as the least popular royal; he’s known for being boorish, self-centered and tone-deaf to criticism. Even a positive quality attributed to him — loyalty — has often gotten him in trouble, most notably when it came to his desire to stay friends with Jeffrey Epstein.

In fact, Andrew stuck by the now-deceased Epstein even after the multimillionaire financier was first investigated for sex trafficking and was convicted in 2008 of solicitation of a minor.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. (Photos by Getty Images and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office)

“You’re such a puritan,” Andrew told a friend who urged him to cut ties with Epstein, according to a 2011 Vanity Fair report. “Leave me alone. Jeffrey’s my friend. Being loyal to your friends is a virtue. And I’m going to be loyal to him.”

It turns out that registered sex offender Epstein is not Andrew’s only longtime friend who was accused of sex crimes against minors. A 2017 investigative report by the Canadian magazine Maclean’s showed that the Duke of York also stayed loyal to an Anglican priest who was the chaplain at the elite prep school he attended as a teenaged exchange student 40 years earlier.

That priest, Keith Gleed, was later accused by at least five former students of sexually abusing them when he worked at Lakefield College School in Ontario from 1974 to 1980, when the school was an all-boys academy and when Andrew attended the school.

Indeed, it was Andrew’s tribute to Gleed at a 2008 ceremony at Lakefield that prompted the former students to come forward to detail abuse allegations they had long kept secret, Maclean’s reported.

Andrew had come to Lakefield in 2008 to deliver a hand-carved baptismal font for the school chapel, Maclean’s said. The font was carved from a rock from his mother’s Balmoral Castle in Scotland. During the blessing ceremony, Andrew and others fondly remembered Gleed as “the confidant of the troubled, the defender of the bullied and a true friend to all.”

But Gleed, who died in 2001, was anything but a defender and “true friend” to certain boys at Lakefield, according to Maclean’s. “He was a pedophile who preyed on vulnerable young students and took his secret to the grave,” Maclean’s reported.

In lawsuits filed by two of Gleed’s alleged victims, one man said he was “pained and haunted by the knowledge that a pedophile like Father Keith was permanently honored with a baptismal font on the school’s premises,” according to Maclean’s and local news site

The alleged victim, identified by Maclean’s and Mykawartha as Gregory, said that reading about Andrew honoring Gleed with the font left him devastated. “This reinforced ideas in me that no one would believe me, that I was insignificant, and that the abuse of me would not matter,” he said.

In its defense to the lawsuits, Lakefield said it did not know about the allegations against Gleed when he was their chaplain or when Andrew paid tribute in 2008. The allegations were detailed by the students’ lawsuits and a third-party investigation launched by the school several years after Andrew’s visit. The investigation concluded in 2015 that the disgraced chaplain violated “the trust and authority” of his position and “afflicted harm on innocent students by engaging in sexual misconduct.”

However, it appears that the Anglican Church of Canada may have been aware of Gleed’s abuse of before his death, reported The church received a sexual assault claim in the early 1990s, which prompted the church to strip Gleed of his official capacity as a priest, the site said.

Andrew, through Buckingham Palace, declined to comment on the allegations against Gleed when contacted by Maclean’s in 2017.

Two years later, Andrew and the royal family are mired in a scandal involving the duke’s friendship with Epstein, which continued at least through the end of 2010. The registered sex offender died by suicide Aug. 10 in a Manhattan jail where he was awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges.

The Epstein scandal has left many in the British public and media expressing outrage and dissatisfaction with Andrew’s brief comments, in which he said he was unaware of the financier’s alleged crimes and denied that he himself had sex with one of his alleged underaged “sex slaves.” Virginia Roberts Giuffre claimed in a 2011 interview and in a 2015 lawsuit of being forced by Epstein to have sex with Andrew three times when she was 17.

Outside a Manhattan court room last month, Giuffre told reporters that Andrew “knows exactly what he’s done, and I hope he comes clean about it.”

Some charities for whom Andrew is a patron have sought to distance themselves from the duke. Prince Charles reportedly is angry that his younger brother, the eighth in line to the British throne, has dragged the family into his Epstein tawdriness, Vanity Fair reported.

For the royal family, there also have been embarrassing revelations about Andrew inviting Epstein to stay at Balmoral Castle in 1999 and to attend birthday parties at Windsor Castle for himself and Prince William in 2000 and for Princess Beatrice in 2006.

Nonetheless, it appears that the royal family officially is sticking by Andrew, with Queen Elizabeth allowing herself to again be photographed with him on Sunday, riding in the back of a car to church near Balmoral Castle, the Daily Mail reported. Andrew reportedly is Elizabeth’s favorite son. The queen made a similar church-ride gesture toward her son the day after Epstein’s death.

On the other hand, the royal family has not posted to its social media accounts any photos or news about Andrew at official engagements, not since the end of August when he attended the Royal Regatta in Devon. A tweet about Andrew at the regatta invited a deluge of critical comments.

Andrew often said his six months at Lakefield school were “life-changing,” Maclean’s reported. Lakefield is one of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious private schools, charging up to $57,000 per year for students who live on campus. It went co-ed in 1989 and counts among its alumni Felipe VI, King of Spain, Emmy-nominated actor Will Arnett, and a number of Canadian politicians.

The Duke of York has retained strong ties to Lakefield, has attended school reunions and visited in 2012 when he was named honorary chairman of its charitable foundation, the Peterborough Examiner reported.

Andrew also stayed in touch with the “funny and charismatic” Gleed, who had been well-known on campus for leading morning services and for being a residence supervisor, Maclean’s said. When Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, Gleed led a group from Lakefield who attended the wedding at Westminster Abbey. Andrew also traveled to Canada to visit the priest in the hospital shortly before his death from cancer in 2001, a “testament of true friendship,” according to Gleed’s obituary in the school newsletter, Maclean’s reported.

Two of Gleed’s victims claimed in lawsuits that Gleed befriended them and listened to them talk about their troubles at home or at school. The victim identified as Gregory said he was in Grade 9 when he began meeting with Gleed. During those visits, Gleed gave him sherry and often hugged and stroked his head. During their last meeting, Gregory said he woke up on the floor disoriented with Gleed lying across him. Gregory said he later realized he had been raped, a trauma that he dealt with by developing a drinking problem. He also was regularly plagued by suicidal thoughts.

“Being abused by Father Keith fundamentally changed who I am,” Gregory told Maclean’s. “Since the abuse, I have felt there was something intrinsically wrong with me. I have felt ashamed. I thought that I’d be blamed and no one would believe me.”

Another victim said Gleed began molesting him when he was in Grade 6. As a result, he developed behavioral problems that led to him being asked to leave the school.

After leaving Lakefield, Gleed served in a number of Anglican parishes in the Toronto area.

Maclean’s reported that the memorial font delivered by Andrew was removed from the chapel in 2014. In response to the lawsuits, Lakefield denied it had any knowledge of “any alleged impropriety on the part of Father Gleed” prior to Andrew presenting the baptismal font.

“Once the allegations were brought forward, (the school) immediately put in place the necessary resources to support the victims and the independent third-party investigation it initiated,” the school said. Lakefield also made counseling available to victims who came forward, shared information about the allegations with parents and alumni and encouraged all parities to participate in the investigation. “The safety and well-being of its students is always the school’s highest priority,”








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