Opening their order of service at Monday’s Garter Day ceremony, many guest eyes will be drawn to the Duke of York’s name, which appears on the procession list right in front of the Duke of Cambridge’s name.
Newspapers have been full of news that Andrew will be taking part in the ceremonial event – marking his first public appearance since his turn to make headlines at the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in March – and everyone is nervous to see what it will be. the entrance he would make. Will the pariah prince be the center of attention again, waving haughtily in his blue velvet robes and fur hat? Or did he have the sense to retreat to the background this time? In the end, the Royal Family decided it was a risk they couldn’t take – at the last minute, Andrew was barred from appearing altogether.
The decision was taken at the eleventh hour, following urgent intervention by Prince William and the Prince of Wales. William is said to have given the Queen a ‘he or me’ style ultimatum, with one senior insider telling Night Standard: “The Duke of Cambridge insisted. If York insists on taking part publicly, he will step down.” Charles also voiced his concerns, amid fears of a public backlash as seen after Andrew’s surprising pivotal role at Philip’s memorial service.
It was up to the Queen to reluctantly tell her second son that she couldn’t make a public appearance at the event. Buckingham Palace has described it as a “family decision”, but the duke himself – who one source has said has been left “devastated and a little confused” – has gone to great lengths to describe it as a personal choice, with sources close to him revealing he does not want to do anything that would ” embarrass the Queen or make things difficult.”
All in all, it made for another embarrassing week for Andrew and raised further questions about his future role in the monarchy. Is there a place for a 62-year-old man in royal life? Or should he sneak off and live a quiet life of seclusion in Windsor? It seemed that was what William and Charles had hoped for, but the duke had other plans. Undaunted by the public’s reluctance to him (a recent YouGov poll revealed Andrew is the least favored member of the Royal Family), it was reported earlier this week that he had been lobbying the Queen to be re-appointed Colonel of the Grenadier Guard – he most coveted the title – in a push to return to royal duties after being stripped of all military titles and royal protections in January following a sexual assault case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre. He also wants to restore his status as HRH and ‘Prince of Blood’, with sources quoted as saying he wants his position “to be recognized and respected”.
There seems to be little chance of that, however. “If Andrew thinks any of that is going to happen, he’s delusional,” said one insider. His older brother insisted his days as a working royal were over, with sources close to him saying as far as Charles was concerned “a way back for the duke proved impossible”. William is said to have agreed.
As for the Queen, it has long been rumored that Andrew is her favorite son, and it’s no secret that he is the most frequent visitor to Windsor Castle, which is just three miles from the Royal Lodge, the seven-bedroom home she shares with her ex. – wife of Sarah Ferguson. The duke would be well aware that, when it came to the future of his kingdom, time was of the essence. “Andrew was desperate to get back into public life while the Queen was there, because he’s the only person who might tolerate that,” said Norman Baker, author of the book. And What Do You Do?: What The Royal Family Don’t Want You To Know. “Once the Queen is no longer with us, she will be thrown into the outer darkness.”
Andrew’s close relationship with his mother was the main reason he managed to play such an important role at Prince Philip’s memorial service earlier in the year, where he surprised everyone – including his own siblings – by making a surprise appearance at the king’s side, ushering him into a front row seat in full view of camera. The family is said to have been blinded by the move and later described as “disappointed” and “disappointed” by his behavior, with the stunt sparking a strong reaction from the media and the general public.
There has been much speculation about whether he will cast the same dark shadow over the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, where he plans to attend a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral, until a positive Covid test is paid for. In the end, he didn’t appear in the entire four-day extravaganza. Even his own daughter has been forced to admit how toxic her public image has become – while Princess Beatrice let her walk her down the aisle for her intimate wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July 2020, the duke is conspicuously absent from all official weddings. image released by Buckingham Palace.
Then there is the financial mess. There have long been questions about how she delivers on her lavish lifestyle, with the chaos surrounding the recent £18m Swiss chalet sale as a prime example. Earlier in the year Andrew attempted to sell Chalet Helora in Verbier, reportedly to pay off debts to his family, who are said to have lent money to settle the Giuffre case, estimated at around £10m. The sale has been set to continue until an unnamed pair come forward to say that Andrew owes them £1.6m. This comes after French socialite Isabelle de Rouvre – who initially sold her the chalet – revealed the painstaking process she had to go through to recover the £6.6m the duke accrued to her for the purchase, branding her “absolutely stupid”.
And let’s not forget the case of alleged con artist Selman Turk – who is currently being sued in the High Court – which gave Andrew a mysterious gift of £750,000 in November 2019, said to be for Princess Beatrice’s wedding. Duke has paid back the money, but has not explained why it was paid into his account at Coutts. As a working royal, it is said that Andrew earns around £250,000 a year, but that will end when he steps down from official royal duties in 2019 – it has never been confirmed if that is replaced by the Queen paying him out of his personal income. He also received a naval pension of around £20,000 a year. “The finances don’t add up,” Baker said. “There is no way the two elements together can cover his huge expenses. There is money coming from other sources, and I think for the sake of public accountability, we should know those sources.”
These days, instead of flying around the world with his famous friends, the duke keeps busy by going horseback riding in Windsor Great Park and making daily visits to his mother. Royal commentator Russell Myers said: “Some staff [at Windsor Castle] said, jokingly, that you can set your watch with [Andrew] appeared just before lunch and before he went on horseback… He was still very much alive on the pigs in that sense.” Otherwise, his social calendar seems pretty empty, with royal observers noting that the duke hasn’t visited Clarence House for months, suggesting the chill relationship between him and Charles. While a source said the Prince of Wales “loves his brother and has the ability to sympathize with the catapults and arrows that” [he] persist,” he “had long concluded that it might be an unsolvable problem.” However, at least there’s always been dear old Fergie, who said in a recent interview that she “stands very firm” with her ex-husband and that he is “a nice and kind man”. The couple were still living together in the 30-room Georgian mansion when Ferguson was in England, which has its own indoor pool and a large driving range. Much to keep the prince in exile busy.
So why, you might ask, did he not stay there and just accept that his royal life was over? “It’s a combination of irresistible arrogance and a misplaced sense of entitlement,” Baker said. The palace has acknowledged that “Andrew’s problem” needs to be fixed, with one senior palace source telling Daily mail last week: “Obviously in the near future, thought should be given to how to support the duke as, far from public view, he seeks to slowly rebuild his life in a different direction.”
Quite how that will play out remains to be seen – there are suggestions that a move to Scotland could be on the cards. “Obviously he was frustrated, because he kept trying to get back on his feet,” says Nigel Cawthorne, author of the book Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell and Palace. “If you were raised as a Blood Prince, that’s the only career you know.”
Before long, the matter would fall into Charles’ hands, and with his desire for a leaner monarchy, we all know which way to go. “Charles and William have a vested interest in keeping the company on the road,” Cawthorne said. “Andrew is the maggot in the royal apple, and he can spoil things for everyone.”