Queen ‘supports’ Prince Andrew who is planning new future – but royal return off the cards

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Prince Andrew, 60, is determined to “serve his country” with a return to public duties and believes he has royal support. The Duke of York is said to be plotting a “reframing” of his role which will allow him a return in 2021 – if he can resolve legal issues with US authorities investigating convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Royal sources described Prince Andrew’s previous association with Epstein, who died in prison last year while awaiting trial on fresh allegations, as toxic.

However, members of the Royal Family including the Queen are said to be privately supportive of the Prince who is currently staying out of the public eye at the Royal Lodge.

A senior royal aide said conversations regarding Prince Andrew’s role had taken place, adding a return to an official royal role is unlikely.

The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, palace officials and the Government would need to greenlight a future position in the public eye, the royal insider added.

The Duke began his break from official duties around a year ago after he was accused of showing little sympathy to Epstein’s victims during an interview with Emily Maitlis on BBC’s Newsnight.

Prince Andrew agreed to the TV interview in a bid to “set the record straight” over this relationship with the disgraced financier – but it was quickly branded a car crash and a disaster.

A source told The Sunday Times: “The Duke is spending time working out how he can serve his country and support the monarchy in the future, and what else he might want to do with his life.

“He’s locked down at Royal Lodge [his home on the Queen’s Windsor estate], thinking about his future service and public role. He has some clear thoughts.

“He’s very sensitive to the public mood and acutely conscious that the public are the most important stakeholder.

“He feels he has support from the family, very much so, including all his siblings and his parents.”

A senior royal aide said of a future public role: “There are family discussions about it. But while the hurdles around the Epstein case are still hanging over him, it will be difficult for him to represent the family in any capacity as his presence would overshadow the work of the monarchy.

“In these situations, the monarchy tends to take precedence over the family.

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“The Royal Family is supportive of him thinking about what life might be like after issues are resolved, but the palace is not currently planning any future rebranding of his role.”

Prince Andrew cut his ties to nearly 200 charities and organisations and has also lost his private office at Buckingham Palace.

The Palace when contacted by Express.co.uk, referred to the Duke’s statement last year which read: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.

“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”

Andrew also said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required”.

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