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Prince Andrew was abruptly barred from all public elements of a key royal ceremony on Monday, after elderly family members rebelled against the Queen and demanded they were not required to appear by his side in audience.
Andrew’s team sought to characterize his exit from a public event known as the Procession of the Order of the Garter as his “personal decision”, but a well-placed palace source told The Daily Beast that the decision to circumcise Andrew was a “family decision”.
The last-minute nature of the palace’s dramatic reversal is clearly illustrated by the fact that Andrew will be listed on the official program already printed as a participant in the procession.
The Queen will not join the procession due to her continuing mobility issues, but will attend the private lunch, where Andrew will still be a guest. We wonder which lucky one will be sitting next to him.
The Daily Beast understands Prince Charles was the leader among those who approached the Queen to ask Andrew not to attend the procession. The Queen was very keen 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 entering, at least informally, in a quasi-regent role.
Today’s procession, which is followed by a church service and lunch at Windsor Castle with the Queen, is officially part of what is known as ‘Day of the Garter’, 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 figures. Membership is strictly limited to 24, and Tony Blair is the newest member. It is the highest honor in the British patronage system.
Andrew is a member of the club through the Queen’s personal gift, and as such the Palace had sought to argue that Andrew was attending in a personal rather than official capacity.
However, that would have cut as little ice with the other members of the royal family as it did with the public. Charles, who began pushing for a reduced role for his brother more than a decade ago, long before his association with Jeffrey Epstein became a mainstay of royal family media coverage, is said to have been particularly concerned about the fact that the event could turn into a re-course of Prince Philip’s memorial, when the cover story of Andrew escorting his mother by the arm to her seat completely overshadowed the day’s proceedings.
However, as parts of the Order of the Garter procession unfold in front of the public in Windsor, there were very real fears that Andrew could be booed. Charles probably drew the line at the risk of exposing one of the royal establishment’s most revered institutions to such contempt.
However, the compromise he appears to have been forced to accept is that Andrew will be allowed to attend non-public elements of Garter Day, such as lunch on Monday, and wear the company’s ermine robes to that event. .
Andrew’s determination to attend follows a report he was pressuring the Queen to reinstate him as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, a role he lost in January with his HRH style as the case Giuffre intensified.
The Daily Telegraph quoted a source as saying: “Colonel of the Grenadier Guards was his most coveted title and he wants it back. Having remained a councilor of state, he also feels he should be included in royal and state events.
“Most important to him is his status as HRH and ‘Blood Prince’, and he feels that this should be restored and his position recognized and respected.”