Buckingham Palace confirms Prince Andrew will not take part in Garter Day service

·4-min read
The Duke of York is reportedly keen for a return to royal duties (PA Archive)
The Duke of York is reportedly keen for a return to royal duties (PA Archive)

Buckingham Palace has confirmed the disgraced Duke of York will not be appearing in public at Monday’s Garter Day service in Windsor.

However he will attend a private lunch and ceremony investing new members of the Order of the Garter.

It is understood the decision for Andrew, whose reputation has been severely tarnished by his involvement in a civil sex case lawsuit, not to take part publicly in Garter Day was a “family decision”.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The Duke of York will attend the investiture and lunch today but will not be part of the procession or service.”

Andrew’s last public engagement was when he escorted his mother, the Queen, to the memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh in March.

He had been set to join the wider royal family at a service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral on the second of the four-day Jubilee celebrations earlier this month but ahead of the ceremony it was announced that he had caught coronavirus.

The Sunday Times reported that Andrew, who is a Garter Knight, would be present alongside senior members of the royal family on Monday for the annual service in St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

But The Sun said that heirs to the throne, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, had lobbied the Queen on the issue.

Senior royals feared a “backlash”, the newspaper said, adding that Charles and William were said to have agreed their approach before telling the Queen, who made the final decision.

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

Buckingham Palace and a representative for Andrew have been contacted for comment.

The news came as it was claimed Andrew wanted his HRH status reinstated.

The Queen’s second son stepped away from public life after the furore over his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, He paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case, to a woman he claimed never to have met.

The duke was cast out of the working monarchy after Virginia Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17.

Andrew denied the claims.

In January, ahead of his legal settlement in the case, the Queen stripped Andrew of his honorary military roles, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and he gave up his HRH style.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

On Sunday, the Telegraph quoted an unnamed source as saying: “The colonelcy of the Grenadier Guards was his most coveted title and he wants it back. Having remained a Counsellor of State, he also believes he should be included at royal and state events.

“Most importantly for him is his status as an HRH and ‘Prince of the Blood’ and he feels that should be reinstated and his position recognised and respected.”

During Monday’s service, the Duchess of Cornwall will be installed as a Royal Lady of the Order of the Garter.

Meanwhile, a protest is expected in Windsor amid opposition to former prime minister Sir Tony Blair being appointed to the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

It was announced in December that the former Labour leader was to be appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter – the highest possible ranking.

More than 1.5 million signatures were gathered on a petition calling for the knighthood to be “rescinded”, claiming he was the “least deserving person of any public honour” and that he should be “held accountable for war crimes”.

Sir Tony was prime minister during Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Stop the War said activists will gather at the Queen Victoria statue outside the castle on Monday in protest at Sir Tony’s appointment.

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

Also on Monday, Baroness Valerie Amos will be appointed Lady Companion of the Order.

The Labour member of the House of Lords, who was the first black person to become a cabinet member, will now also be the first black person appointed Lady Companion of the Order.

Each year, Royal Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter gather at the chapel in Windsor for a colourful procession and ceremony.

Crowds watch as they walk down the hill to the chapel from the state apartments, dressed in blue velvet mantles, red velvet hoods, black velvet hats and white ostrich plumes.

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