Prince Charles told the Queen she had to effectively fire her ‘favourite son’ Prince Andrew after his Epstein interview in order to ‘protect the monarchy’, it has been reported.
The shock claims come from The Evening Standard, whose senior royal source detailed the reasons behind the family’s ‘swift’ actions in the days following Andrew’s explosive televised sit-down.
“This is not about personalities, this is about protecting the institution of the monarchy itself,” the source revealed.
Stripped from his duties
In his personally-penned statement released on Wednesday, the Duke of York announced he would be stepping down from public duties for ‘the foreseeable future’, but insiders claim this remark is just to save face.
“This is not about personalities but about safeguarding the future of the institution of the monarchy itself. There could be only one conclusion… The Duke of York had to withdraw from the fray and from public life,” the source said.
"It is very sad. Obviously, both the Queen and the Prince love Andrew … but the health of the monarchy is too important to risk.”
The reported ‘final straw’ for both the 93-year-old monarch and her heir was businesses and organisations swiftly disassociating themselves from the royals, something they watched with ‘increasing alarm’.
Firms such as telecoms giant BT, UK bank Barclays, and at least three Australian universities are among those who have distanced themselves from Andrew following the BBC interview.
After informing the wider family of the news, Prince Andrew released a statement on Wednesday revealing his mother Queen Elizabeth had given him permission to step back from royal duties.
"I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission," he said.
Andrew said he regretted his association with the former US businessman and that he ‘deeply sympathises’ with Epstein’s victims.
"Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required," the statement read.
Despite his public sympathy, the same tone was not taken from the BBC interview, with critics, including Lisa Wilkinson, pointing out how he rarely referenced Epstein’s victims in the hour-long chat.
“If that interview was meant to take the heat off Prince Andrew it's going to do exactly the opposite,” she said on The Project.
“The extraordinary thing is at the end he was asked ‘is there anything we've left out?’
“At no point in 60 minutes did he find the time to condemn child sex trafficking around the world or express any remorse for what's happened to the victims of Jeffrey Epstein. Breathtaking.”
Among the most heinous allegations against the prince is that he had sex with Virginia Roberts on several occasions in 2001 when she was just 17 years old.
Ms Roberts has alleged she and Prince Andrew dined together and went to a nightclub in London before the first time they allegedly had sex.
However, the Duke of York denies ever meeting Ms Roberts and says instead of going nightclubbing with her and having sex with her, he was at a pizza restaurant in Woking, southwest of London, before going home.
“I was with the children and I'd taken [my daughter] Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon," he told the BBC.
Prince Andrew was then asked how he could remember going to a pizza joint 18 years ago, to which he said going to Pizza Express in Woking was an “unusual thing” for him to do.
Prince Andrew has “categorically” denied having sex with Ms Roberts who alleges they had sex on three occasions.
"I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened," the Duke of York said.
"I've said consistently and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever.
"I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
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