The Queen has cancelled a party she had planned to host for Prince Andrew and his charities to mark his 60th birthday in February and is understood to be intending to hold only a small family dinner.
The move comes as the Duke of York is preparing to give up all his charity commitments in a sign that he is unlikely ever to resume royal duties. In addition, American officials are examining procedures for a formal FBI interview with Andrew in Britain. A source close to the duke said he would be “happy to co-operate”.
There is renewed optimism from the FBI that he can provide “very unique and helpful insights” into the investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein sex-trafficking scandal, according to sources in the US Department of Justice.
A week after the duke’s disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, more than 20 charities have already severed ties with him. He is expected to resign from up to 160 more within days.
Penny Junor, the royal author, said: “He’s absolutely finished. If Andrew is no longer representing or supporting the monarch in any capacity, or doing good charitably, what’s the point of him?”
Buckingham Palace said he would maintain his military affiliations for now, but would not take part in any events. There are already signs of concern in military ranks about the duke, whose retreat from public life has been rapid. “Some of the regiments will find it a bit awkward having Andrew on their Christmas card,” said a palace source.
Another source close to the duke said he wanted his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, to take over his patronage roles. It emerged yesterday that, contrary to reports, the Queen never gave her approval to the television interview. She is said to be “privately supportive” of Andrew but “deeply frustrated” that the scandal is overshadowing the work of the rest of the family.
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