Andrew ‘in danger of losing’ his mansion...
PRINCE Andrew faces losing his royal mansion or being made to pay the market rate for it, according to a former member of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.
The 59-year-old – who was forced to give up frontline royal duties after criticism of his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein – lives in Royal Lodge, the Queen Mother’s former residence in windsor.
In 2003, the Duke of York agreed a 75-year lease on the 30-room mansion with a one-off payment of £1million to the Crown Estate.
This equates to around £250 a week.
But Chris Evans, a former member of Westminster watchdog the Public Accounts Committee, now wants MPS to investigate the disgraced prince’s finances.
A £13million Swiss ski lodge Andrew bought with his exwife Sarah Ferguson could also come under scrutiny.
Mr Evans, who is standing for reelection as the Labour MP for Islwyn in South Wales, said “serious questions” needed to be asked about the prince’s “fabulous income”.
He added: “I think [the lease] should be looked at and it should be put at market rate – £250 a week for that type of place is very small beer.
“I hope that in the next Parliament, whoever the members of the new Public Accounts Committee are, they will look at that forthwith.
“Serious questions have to be asked about where Prince Andrew’s wealth comes from.
“The books need to be opened up and he needs to start telling people where this fabulous income is coming from.”
Andrew’s 99-acre estate in Windsor Great Park includes several other cottages.
A 2005 National Audit Office report said the lease was not offered up to the wider market because of the property’s “sensitive location” and “security concerns surrounding the Royal Family’s access to the Royal Chapel”. It also stated the Crown Estate thought it was “appropriate” for the property to remain within the Royal Family.
The report claimed that if Andrew terminated the lease within the first 25 years, the Crown Estate could be required to compensate him for any money he has spent refurbishing the property.
The watchdog reported that the spend had exceeded £7.5million.
Last night, a spokeswoman for the Duke of York said: “We do not comment on private matters regarding members of the Royal Family.”
Andrew has faced intense scrutiny over his relationship with Epstein, who took his own life in August.
The first UK television interview with Virginia Roberts – now Giuffre – who says she was forced to have sex with the prince when she was just 17, will be broadcast on BBC’S Panorama tomorrow.
Andrew has denied the claims and said he could not even recall meeting her, despite a photo of him with the teenager being widely circulated.
‘Serious questions have to be asked’
PALATIAL: Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park
SCANDAL: Andrew and Virginia Roberts in 2001