Daily Express

SHAMED PRINCE

Queen to scale back Andrew’s 60th party

- By Richard Palmer

THE Queen has cancelled plans to host a 60th birthday party for Prince Andrew after she and Prince Charles sacked him from representi­ng the monarchy on official duties.

She had intended to host a party with all his charities to mark the date on February 19 but has acknowledg­ed there is little point now, following his disgrace over his links with the paedophile billionair­e Jeffrey Epstein.

Instead, the 93-year-old monarch, who has supported her second son all the way until now, is expected to host a small private family dinner.

Last night it was reported that the Duke was “standing back from all his patronages” – around 230 charities and organisati­ons. More than 20 charities had already secured his resignatio­n as their patron.

Buckingham Palace has insisted his honorary positions and patronages in the Armed Forces will remain but there are reports of growing unrest in the military too.

Backlash

Last week Andrew announced he was stepping away from public life “for the foreseeabl­e future” amid a furious backlash after an ill-fated TV interview in which he sought unsuccessf­ully to draw a line over the controvers­y surroundin­g his friendship with Epstein. He also denies claims that he slept three times with a 17-year-old sex slave.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who is now 36, has alleged she was trafficked to London and then New York and the US Virgin Islands to have sex with Andrew on the orders of Epstein and his then girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.

Andrew has insisted he has no recollecti­on of ever meeting her, in spite of a now famous photograph of them together with Ms Maxwell at her London mews house.

He hopes to return to public duties if he can clear his name but his brother Charles is said to be adamant that there is no coming back.

Charles has long harboured intentions of slimming the monarchy and is set to want siblings Princess Anne, 69 and Prince Edward, 55, to retire when he becomes king. Opinion polls yesterday showed support for cutting the taxpayer-funded Royal Family to just the Queen, Charles,

William and spouses and heirs. The polls showed the scandal has damaged the wider monarchy.

That could mean trouble for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have lost public support after a series of controvers­ies and are struggling to cope with the scrutiny that goes with life in the spotlight.

Andrew, who thought the interview with Emily Maitlis of BBC Newsnight had gone well, was encouraged to do it by his private secretary Amanda Thirsk, his exwife Sarah, Duchess of York, and his elder daughter Princess Beatrice – said to have been “tearful” since.

Sources say the Queen was aware of the interview but did not approve it. However, according to senior sources she did support her son’s decision. Ms Maitlis also said Andrew told the BBC he had sought “approval from higher up”, which could only mean the monarch.

Ms Thirsk is said to be stepping down but the intention is for her to still oversee Andrew’s personal initiative­s. Andrew may be hoping that Beatrice and her sister Eugenie can take over some of his patronages but they too have been “damaged”.

Buckingham Palace refused to comment yesterday on Beatrice’s involvemen­t or on the Queen’s plans for Andrew’s 60th birthday.

IF ANYONE deserves some peace and quiet it is Her Majesty the Queen. Instead, at the vulnerable age of 93, she can only look on as events unfold in relation to her son Prince Andrew.

There is talk that Andrew’s 60th birthday celebratio­ns will now be pared down in light of accusation­s of his alleged sexual conduct with a minor. And we hear that Prince William has never got on with his oldest uncle.

Not for the first time, the Queen has been put in an impossible position.What’s more, the depiction of her in the latest Netflix series of The Crown seems to have crossed the line from fact to fiction purely for the sake of TV ratings.

We will never know her current thoughts because she is far too wise and dignified to reveal them.

But we are thinking of her because she deserves so much better.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Fall of a favourite son... but back in 2017 the Queen was all smiles enjoying the Royal Ascot races with Andrew
Fall of a favourite son... but back in 2017 the Queen was all smiles enjoying the Royal Ascot races with Andrew
 ??  ?? Andrew might let daughters Eugenie, left, and Beatrice take over patronages
Andrew might let daughters Eugenie, left, and Beatrice take over patronages

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