PRINCE ANDREW is “highly likely” to be stripped of his HRH status at some point, a royal commentator has shockingly claimed.
Andrew has been roped into an international storm surrounding the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein over the last year. Epstein, already a convicted sex offender, was arrested last summer on charges relating to the trafficking of young women and girls — but he killed himself in jail before his trial. Andrew, who became friends with Epstein in around 1999, has denied any knowledge of Epstein’s crimes, and there is no indication that he is guilty of any wrongdoing himself.
Andrew even tried to tackle the criticism head-on in an interview with BBC Newsnight last November, but it was immediately dubbed a “car-crash”.
Consequently, he was forced to step down from his public duties “for the foreseeable future” and stripped of his £250,000 salary in public funds.
While he has retreated from the spotlight and was not even spotted in his daughter Princess Beatrice’s wedding photographs, he is thought to still have access to the Queen’s private funds, the Duchy of Lancaster.
The official website for the Royal Family also still refers to him as “His Royal Highness The Duke of York”, showing he has maintained use of his HRH despite no longer being a working member of the Firm.
Prince Andrew has faced criticism over his friendship with Epstein in the last year (Image: Getty)
Epstein and Andrew are believed to have become friends in around 1999 (Image: Getty)
This has raised eyebrows within royal spheres.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were no longer allowed to use their HRH status once they decided to step down as working royals earlier this year — although they technically still have access to the regal titles.
Princess Diana was stripped of her HRH following her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, too.
However, Nigel Cawthorne, author of ‘Prince Andrew, Epstein and the Palace’, predicted that Andrew may lose access to his HRH soon.
The Queen and Andrew are thought to have a close relationship (Image: Getty)
Mr Cawthorne said Philip is “extremely fond and very proud of his son”, but “knows that Andrew’s name is poison currently”.
He continued: “The survival of the monarchy requires that Buckingham Palace backs away from his son.”
The commentator then added: “It is a poignant moment and the loss of Prince Andrew’s HRH title is highly likely merely a matter of time now.”
Indeed, many royal fans noticed Andrew’s HRH title was omitted from birthday messages on social media, sent by the Royal Family’s official account.
Prince Philip had to make the difficult decision to reduce Andrew’s role in his 100th birthday celebrations according to reports (Image: Getty)
Andrew did not feature in Princess Beatrice’s wedding photographs from July (Image: PAimages)
In comparison, the HRH had been included in the Palace’s 2019 and 2018 birthday messages to the Duke of York, demonstrating a stark change in format.
Andrew will not be invited to several major celebrations to mark Philip’s milestone birthday and organisers of a photo exhibition have been told to leave pictures of him out, according to The Sun.
An insider told the newspaper: “There is a warning from up high to play down Andrew. He will be included as little as possible.
“It’s not whitewashing history because you can’t leave him out entirely.
“But it will not make a big deal of his relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh over the years.”
Sources claimed in June that Andrew “will never return to royal duties” either.
Earlier this year, Mr Cawthorne summarised his own take on the royal’s situation, telling The Sun: “Prince Andrew is virtually retired and can no longer carry out royal duties.
“So surely he should give up the HRH title and the money he receives from the Privy Purse.
“Harry and Meghan, who were upset about losing their HRH, will be thinking it’s a little bit unfair Andrew gets to keep his.”
This opinion was backed up by Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, who also questioned why Andrew should keep the title when “he’s brought disgrace” to the royals.
When contacted by Express.co.uk, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Any plans for the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday have yet to be determined.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK