Prince Andrew is set to miss out on Trooping the Colour again this year amid the Jeffrey Epstein scandal with his place at the Queen’s birthday parade being taken by an Afghan war veteran.
The Duke of York, who didn’t appear in his daughter Princess Beatrice’s wedding photos, stepped back from public life in 2019 after a disastrous BBC Newsnight interview about his relationship with Epstein.
Royal sources claim the Duke intends to return to his duties to ‘serve his country’.
However, the Queen and senior royals are thought to be less keen on the idea and Andrew is now set to miss Trooping the Colour on June 12 which will mark the Queen’s 95th birthday.
The event will be the first significant royal occasion since the outbreak of the coronavirus and Andrew will be replaced by Major General Roland Walker, a veteran whose vehicle was hit in January 2010 by an IED set by the Taliban in Helmand.
Andrew is now set to miss Trooping the Colour on June 12 which will mark the Queen’s 95th birthday
Andrew will be replaced by Major General Roland Walker, a veteran whose vehicle was hit in January 2010 by an IED set by the Taliban in Helmand
Later that year he received the Distinguished Service Order honour from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Andrew previously met with Walker and the Queen in March 2018 at Windsor Castle to mark the Duke’s appointment as colonel of the Grenadiers.
Now, It is understood the Queen has approved the amended plans for Trooping the Colour, with Walker taking Andrew’s place on the parade.
The decision comes amid continued scrutiny of the Duke’s relationship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in prison in New York.
Andrew is facing accusations from alleged victim Virginia Roberts that she was forced to have sex with him on three occasions when she was aged 17 in 2001.
In response to the outcry over Ms Roberts’s allegations, the Queen’s son has been forced to give up royal duties and step down from all his charitable patronages.
Lawyers for the victims of Epstein have called on the Prince to submit himself for an FBI interview after the US agency made it clear they wished to speak with him.
But he has so far not been interviewed by the FBI despite claiming that he has reached out to the US Department of Justice and agreed to co-operate with their investigation.
The Duke’s long-time friend Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, is currently awaiting a trial in America on charges of grooming teenage girls as young as 14 for Epstein to abuse.
Virginia Roberts, one of the victims of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke, now 60, on three occasions, allegations he vehemently denies along with any other wrongdoing
In response to the outcry over Ms Roberts’s claims, the Queen’s second son was forced to give up Royal duties and step down from his charitable patronages (Prince Andrew with Epstein in 2010)
Maxwell also featured in a famous picture of the Prince with his arm around Ms Roberts who says she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with the royal.
Senior military officials have described Andrew as an embarrassment to the armed forces while royal sources see him as a ‘busted flush’ whose presence is ‘toxic’.
A senior royal aide told the Sunday Times: ‘While the hurdles around the Epstein case are still hanging over him, it will be difficult for him to represent the family again in any capacity as his presence would overshadow the work of the monarchy. The duke is focusing on doing what needs to be done to cause less distraction and that is still ongoing.’
Another source said: ‘It’s a very difficult one for the Grenadiers and for the Queen. He was an assiduous colonel but it has all been overshadowed by the other stuff.’ It is unclear whether Andrew, who has not appeared alongside the royal family at any public event since 2019, will be on the palace balcony for the post-parade fly-past.
Andrew hired a ‘working group’ to help clear his name and rehabilitate his image, including lawyers from the City firm Blackfords, Clare Montgomery QC and the spin doctor Mark Gallagher.
But in a bungling attempt to clear the Prince’s name Mr Gallagher, and the Duchess of York’s personal assistant Antonia Marshall, approached online troll Molly Skye Brown to try and discredit Virginia Roberts.
They also discussed the possibility of setting up a fake Twitter profile to ensnare other Epstein victims.
But in a dramatic twist, the 42-year-old mum-of-one from Orlando, Florida, turned on the pair and even reported their approach to the FBI.
Now Mr Gallagher has resigned amid fury from palace officials over the approach.