The scandal surrounding Prince Andrew and his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has shown exactly how fragile the royal family is.
The Duke is accused of having sex with Virginia Giuffre three times when she was a teenager and trafficked by Epstein - which he categorically denies.
He has been forced to step down from his public roles and has been axed by a number of charities of which he was royal patron.
Speaking on Yahoo UK’s Royal Special, Duncan Larcombe, former Royal Editor at The Sun, said the incident had sparked questions over the very existence of the royals.
“What this episode shows is just how fragile the British royal family really is,” he said.
He said Prince Andrew’s ‘car crash’ interview - which sparked criticism for his failure to demonstrate empathy for Epstein’s victims or express any regret for his own relationship with the paedophile - had come at a time when the nation was gearing up for a general election.
Comparing the political system to that of the hereditary nature of the royal family, he said it was “inconceivable” that any aspiring politician standing for an election would have been elected if surrounded by a similar scandal, saying: “They would have lost their jobs.”
He said there were “a lot of people talking on radio shows, phone in shows”, saying: “is it time for a republic? Is it time to get rid of the royal family?”
Prince Andrew was absent from a Nato reception at Buckingham Palace in early December in what is thought to be the first of many high-profile royal events.
However, Buckingham Palace has confirmed to Yahoo News UK that the prince is still set to attend the Trooping the Colour and Remembrance Sunday events next year - two of the most important events in the royal calendar.
Also speaking on the Royal Special, Victoria Murphy, former royal correspondent at the Daily Mirror, said despite the royals enjoying popularity over the last decade, the hereditary system now faced questions.
“Something like this has made people question the hereditary system because, yes, he's been stood down from his position but he's still a member of the family.
“So whatever happens next will still very much reflect on the monarchy and on the royals because he's still part of the family and that is not going to change.”
She said the Queen had been left in a difficult position as potentially wanting to support her son, yet protect the institution of the monarchy.
She said the fallout from the scandal had “exposed the conflict that we have with the system that we have because she’s acting as the boss and a mother and a figurehead for a country”.
“So again that’s why these things have the potential to be so damaging because they expose the very institution to criticism as well, and the system that we have.”