Prince Andrew's royal excommunication is complete

14 January 2022

5:41 AM

14 January 2022

5:41 AM

Prince Andrew has been well and truly cut adrift. By his only family. From birth, he was styled His Royal Highness. He will go to his grave unencumbered by it. The removal of the style HRH, at the age of 61, will hurt a son of the Queen who doesn’t wear his royal status lightly.

He remains a prince and a duke, but the Falklands veteran has no military titles. The uniform of an admiral he’d asked a tailor to run up will now remain in a wardrobe. Unworn in public. His patronages are gone too.

This is what a sacking looks like when you’re ninth in line to the British throne. No more appearances on the Buckingham Palace balcony; riding horseback during Trooping the Colour; or laying a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. Henceforth, he’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York: the non-royal, royal. His only sliver of consolation is that he hasn’t been stripped of being a Knight of the Garter. Yet.

And all this at a time when he continues, repeatedly, to deny that he is guilty of sexual assault in the civil action being brought against him in the US by Virginia Giuffre.

The Windsors could have waited for this civil action to run its course. The fact they haven’t shows just how much Prince Andrew, and his repeated failures of judgement, was toxifying their brand in the year of the Monarch’s Platinum Jubilee. When your USP is acting as a symbol of national unity, it’s not a good look to be too closely associated with someone who had sustained friendships with Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender and Ghislaine Maxwell, a convicted child sex trafficker.

The statement, announcing Andrew’s defenestration, was in the Queen’s name. She will not have acted alone. When it comes to troublesome family matters — and she’s had her fair share — she’s tempted to become ostrich-like. This time, Prince Charles and Prince William will have been on hand to strengthen her resolve. They won’t want the throne they will both one day inherit to be further damaged by the actions of Prince Andrew.

The British Royal Family hasn’t survived for centuries by pussyfooting around when crises refuse to abate. Today, they’ve shown that when the institution is under threat, dynastic preservation trumps flesh and blood.

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