Duke of York banned from public parts of Garter Day after ‘family decision’ over Epstein scandal
The monarchy has taken a “family decision” to limit the disgraced Duke of York’s appearance on Garter Day to a behind-the-scenes lunch and investiture ceremony.
Andrew will not be seen in public during Garter Day, one of the most colourful events in the royal calendar, after the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge reportedly lobbied the Queen about his participation.
The duke’s reputation has been severely tarnished by his involvement in a civil sexual assault case, and it is understood a “family decision” was taken to reduce his involvement to a lunch and investiture ceremony for new Order of the Garter recipients, both held behind closed doors.
The Queen had signalled her support for Andrew – rumoured to be her favourite child – by arriving with him for the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in March.
Andrew provided a steady arm for the Queen as she walked into Westminster Abbey to remember the life of her husband, a few weeks after he reached a multimillion-pound out-of-court settlement in a civil sexual assault case.
But there has been speculation senior members of the royal family did not approve of his appearance and it appears the Queen has conceded to their views regarding Garter Day staged at Windsor Castle.
In February, Virginia Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, settled out of a court a claim against Andrew for damages in her home country of the US, claiming she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew’s friend, to have sex with the royal when she was 17, a minor under US law.
Ms Giuffre also alleged she was forced to have sex with the prince at Epstein’s home in New York and the US Virgin Islands.
The agreement was not an admission of guilt from the duke and he has always strenuously denied the allegations against him. The sum settled for is understood to be in the region of £12 million. The payout included a £2m contribution to Ms Giuffre’s sex trafficking charity thought to have been paid by the Queen.
Weeks earlier, in January, it was confirmed that The Duke of York's military titles and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen.
A leading royal expert later said Andrew will “forever be tainted” by the civil sex assault claim.
He also stopped using ‘His Royal Highness’ and stepped back from public life because of the accusations against him and his friendship with Epstein.
In a Newsnight interview Andrew defended his friendship with the known paedophile and suggested he was too honourable.
In the same interview he also claimed accusations against him were incorrect because he could not sweat due to his involvement in the Falklands War.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The Duke of York will attend the investiture and lunch today but will not be part of the procession or service.”
The Queen will not be taking part in the procession of Garter Knights who walk through the grounds of Windsor Castle to St George’s Hall where the annual service commemorating the Order is held.
Given the monarch’s mobility issues the decision was expected and in past years she has travelled by car to the place of worship.
But the Queen is expected to attend the lunch and the investiture ceremony.