Prince Andrew was brutally cut out of all public-facing elements of a key royal ceremony Monday, after senior family members rebelled against the queen and demanded that they not be required to appear alongside him in public.
Andrew’s side sought to characterize his exit from a public event known as the Order of the Garter Procession as his “personal decision” but a well-placed palace source told The Daily Beast the move to excise Andrew was a “family decision.”
The last-minute nature of the dramatic palace u-turn is vividly illustrated by the fact that Andrew will be listed on the already-printed official program as participating in the procession.
The queen will not join the procession due to her ongoing mobility issues, but will attend the private lunch, where Andrew will still be a guest. One wonders which lucky individual will be seated next to him.
The Daily Beast understands that Prince Charles was chief among those who made representations to the queen calling for Andrew not to attend the procession. The queen had very much wanted to include Andrew in the procession, and Charles winning this battle of wills is likely to be seen as another sign that the queen is losing her authority over the family, and that Charles is stepping, at least informally, into a quasi-Regent role.
Today’s procession, which is followed by a church service and lunch at Windsor Castle with the queen is a formal part of what is known as “Garter Day,” which honors the members of Britain’s most distinguished order of chivalry, The Order of the Garter.
Garter members include former prime ministers and other senior establishment insiders. Membership is strictly limited to 24, and Tony Blair is the newest member. It is the highest honor in the British system of patronage.
Andrew is a member of the club through the personal gift of the queen, and as such the palace had sought to argue that Andrew was attending in a personal rather than official capacity.
However this is understood to have cut as little ice with other royals as it did with the public. Charles, who began lobbying for a reduced role for his brother over a decade ago, long before his association with Jeffrey Epstein became a mainstay of news coverage of the royal family, is believed to have been particularly concerned that the event could turn into a re-run of Prince Philip’s memorial, when coverage of Andrew escorting his mother by the arm to her seat completely overshadowed the proceedings of the day.
However as parts of the Procession of the Order of the Garter take place in front of the public in Windsor, there were very real fears that Andrew could be booed. Charles is likely to have drawn the line at the risk of exposing one of the most revered institutions of the royal establishment to such contumely.
However the compromise he appears to have been forced to accept is that Andrew will be allowed to participate in the non-public elements of Garter Day, such as Monday’s lunch, and wear the ermine robes of the society to that event.
Andrew’s determination to attend comes hot on the heels of a report that he was lobbying the queen to reinstate him as colonel of the Grenadier Guards, a role which he lost in January along with his HRH styling as the Giuffre case intensified.
The Daily Telegraph quoted a source as saying: “The colonelcy of the Grenadier Guards was his most coveted title and he wants it back. Having remained a Counselor of State, he also believes he should be included at royal and state events.
“Most importantly for him is his status as an HRH and ‘Prince of the Blood’, and he feels that should be reinstated and his position recognized and respected.”