The Queen has effectively sacked Prince Andrew from Royal duties after discussing the Epstein scandal with Charles and summoning the distraught Duke of York to Buckingham Palace to learn his fate.
The Monarch took decisive action to contain the fall-out from the duke’s disastrous Newsnight interview about his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Last night the duke issued a statement confirming he was, with his mother’s permission, ‘stepping down’ from public duties. He will lose his £249,000 annual income from the Sovereign Grant as a result.
The TV interview triggered days of catastrophic headlines and caused a string of businesses and charities to desert him.
Following lengthy discussions with the Prince of Wales, who is touring New Zealand, the Queen summoned Andrew to Buckingham Palace and told him to step down.
A statement was issued by Duke on the Epstein issue on Wednesday
Last night, a friend of Andrew told The Sun: ‘The Queen summoned the Duke to Buckingham Palace to tell him her decision. It was a devastating moment for both of them. His reputation is in tatters. It is unlikely he will ever perform royal duties again. He is disgraced.’
The source said that the Duke will no longer receive his Sovereign Grant allowance because that funds expenses incurred during official duties. His income from the Queen’s private funds will remain intact.
The devastated prince, who is eighth in line to the throne, was told he could write his own statement in an attempt to allow him to bow out gracefully.
A royal insider said: ‘When the Queen and the Prince of Wales stand firm together they are a pretty formidable combination in terms of getting things done.’
It is unprecedented for a senior royal to be asked to stand down in this way and illustrates how damaging Andrew’s BBC Newsnight interview was for himself, and the monarchy. The dramatic announcement came just as Andrew was trying to insist that it was business as usual.
On November 16, the prince gave a ‘disastrous’ BBC interview in which he spoke about his friendship with Epstein and addressed allegations of his own sexual conduct. He faced a barrage of criticism following his television appearance, with the royal accused of a lack of empathy with Epstein’s victims.
During the interview, Andrew, questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, twice stated his relationship with Epstein, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, had some ‘seriously beneficial outcomes’, giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy. The duke denied he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.
The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong as the duke said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat. He cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture that appears to show Andrew with his arm around the waist of Mrs Giuffre, when a teenager.