Why we’re talking about . . .

Prince Andrew: will disgraced duke ever return to public duties?

Prince Charles takes over his brother’s former role at the Royal Philharmonic

Predictions that Prince Andrew will not return to public duties any time soon have been bolstered by the announcement that Prince Charles is taking over his former role as patron of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Pundits had speculated that the Duke of York would like to be “rehabilitated”, after he made a rare public appearance following his father’s death earlier this month.

Andrew’s comments to reporters about Philip’s passing marked the first time that he had directly addressed television cameras since his disastrous Newsnight interview in November 2019 about his relationship with late convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

But this week’s news that the disgraced duke has been “succeeded by the heir to the throne in such a prestigious patronage emphasises how little chance Andrew has of returning to public life in the foreseeable future”, says The Times.

Return to TV screens

The Duke stepped back from royal duties after his appearance on Newsnight prompted widespread criticism - and then stayed out of the spotlight until recently.

On 11 April, two days after Philip’s death, Andrew paid tribute to his father in front of television cameras outside the Royal Chapel of All Saints at the Royal Lodge in Windsor.

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told the Daily Mail at the time that Andrew “would obviously like to be rehabilitated”, but suggested that “the public would not stand for it”. 

Some television viewers complained about broadcasters giving the Prince any platform at all, in light of the allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old alleged Epstein victim against her will.

New York federal prosecutors say Andrew has refused to cooperate with their investigation into the late US financier, who committed suicide in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking girls. Andrew has denied the allegations and his legal team insist he has offered to assist the US authorities.

As the legal row rumbles on, Fitzwilliams told the Mail that he believed maintaining “a low profile and cooperation with the FBI remain his only options in the foreseeable future”.

Roles redistributed

The Prince of Wales’ decision to take over the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra patronage has “underlined” the extent of Andrew’s “fall from grace”, says The Times.

The orchestra’s board parted ways with Andrew in November 2019. A few days later, Buckingham Palace confirmed that he was “standing back” from all of his 230 patronages - a “move apparently designed to protect the monarchy from further humiliation”, says The Telegraph.

Penny Junor, author of The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor, wrote in The Times earlier this month that it was Charles who “encouraged the Queen to insist that Andrew give up public duties”.

Now, says the Telegraph, Andrew’s roles are being “gradually redistributed”.

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