Prince Andrew’s case ‘won’t come back’ says Lisa Bloom
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Prince Andrew is said to have attended the Royal Victorian Order’s event at George’s Chapel in Windsor on Tuesday. Accompanied by his brothers King Charles III and Prince Edward, sister Princess Anne, and in-laws Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke of York attended the grand ceremony, which celebrates loyalty and service to the Royal Family, reportedly wearing his ermine robes. The velvet robes signify his position as a Knight of the Garter — an honour he has retained despite being stripped of his duties as a working royal. Andrew is said to have attended the dinner and subsequent party, held at Windsor, which welcomed around 600 guests.
His appearance, however, has attracted criticism from royal watchers, some of whom accused the Royal Family of “lying by omission” by not mentioning the Duke’s attendance in the Court Circular — the official record of past royal engagements.
Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito, hosts of the Royally Obsessed podcast, discussed Andrew’s controversial outing on their latest episode.
Saying the Duke was “cosplaying as a royal” at the service, which is held every four years at St George’s Chapel, Ms Fiorito claimed: “The Palace lied by omission by just not saying whether Andrew was there or not there in the Court Circular. But a source confirmed that Andrew was there and was dressed in full regalia for the service.”
At the end of 2019, following fallout surrounding his association with the disgraced financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s accusations of sexual abuse, which he has vehemently denied, Andrew stepped back from public duty. Later, in January 2022, he was stripped of his military and royal patronages and has since led life primarily out of the spotlight.
His mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, however, did not relinquish him of his ceremonial role in the Royal Victorian Order.
The Duke was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the late Queen in 1976. He was upgraded to a Knight Commander in 2003, and then a Knight Grand Cross in 2011.
His attendance at the recent event has led some to believe Andrew is attempting to return to royal life.
Former MP and serving member of the Privy Council Norman Baker said the Duke of York is “worming his way back into public life” and should be “given the boot”.
“He is simply being allowed to play dressing up as a royal for the day when really he should be serving a long period of silence,” he told The Sun.
Meanwhile, Ms Fiorito said: “It just feels like they [the Royal Family] are letting him do his thing behind closed doors and that’s kind of a way back in for him.”
King Charles and his heir apparent, Prince William, are understood to be conscious of the public opinion of the disgraced Duke and have reportedly been less tolerant than the late Queen.
In recent weeks it was reported that Andrew was “furious” after finding out he may be banned from wearing his ermine robes at the Coronation of King Charles III. He was previously banned from wearing the traditional robes at the Garter Day procession in Windsor.
But, according to Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, the King may have had no choice in the matter this time.
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She told The Sun: “He is a member [of the Order of the Garter], so they probably couldn’t stop him going even if they wanted to.”
However, royal expert Gertrude Daily, who goes by Gert’s Royals on Twitter, claimed: “There would have been zero obligation that Prince Andrew attend the service just because he is a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order”.
She noted the multiple “absences” from the event, including Queen Camilla and Kate, Princess of Wales, before adding: “As it is a private event in the grounds of Windsor Castle with no media invited, it would be the perfect thing for Andrew to quietly attend as he tries to work his way back into Royal Life.
The expert went on to claim that Buckingham Palace made a “conscious decision” by not mentioning Andrew’s attendance at the Windsor event in the Court Circular.
On Wednesday, she tweeted: “As a non-working royal, he doesn’t get his own CC entries. But for services, receptions, etc. hosted or hosted on behalf of the monarch, all members of the Royal Family are listed on the CC under the Monarch’s entry. This includes non-working royals. So, Prince Andrew should have been listed.”
Knights of the Garter traditionally perform significant roles during Coronation ceremonies.
However, it was revealed last month that due to Andrew being stripped of his royal duties, he will have no ceremonial role at the King’s Coronation, due to take place on May 6.
It remains unclear whether he will be allowed to attend the Coronation in the robes.
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