OUT IN THE COLD
YOU South Africa|27 January 2022
As Prince Andrew’s legal woes mount, the queen has acted swiftly to banish him from the royal fold
NICI DE WET

BANNED from the balcony, barred from public events, stripped of his title and patronages, and so thoroughly and absolutely shut out from the fold that he’s probably never going to find a way back in.

Prince Andrew’s fall from grace has been a long time coming and his final axing from the British royal family has been brutal. The last time someone was so practically banished from The Firm was when the queen’s uncle, Edward, abdi cated to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson in the 1930s.

Of course, the reason for Andrew being kicked out is far more sordid than anything the royals have ever had to deal with.

A US judge recently ruled that one of the victims of convicted paedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein can pursue a civil case against the prince. The victim, Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts) can now take legal action against Andrew, who she’s accused of having sex with her while she was still a minor.

Andrew has consistently denied her claims and tried all manner of legal manoeuvring to prevent Virginia from pursuing legal action. But Judge Lewis Kaplan’s ruling put paid to any attempt to have the case thrown out.

The trial – if he and Virginia don’t settle out of court – will effectively thrust the life and sex habits of the 61-year-old father of Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice into the spotlight.

It’s for this reason that the queen acted with a decisiveness that came as no surprise to royal experts.

Palace sources say the “ruthless and swift” decision was widely discussed within the royal family with future heirs Prince Charles (73) and Prince William (39) being “instrumental” in the move to force Andrew out.

Virginia, now a mom-of-three, has reportedly vowed to destroy Andrew and leave him penniless after the tactics used by his legal team were slammed as victim-blaming by women’s rights groups.

His team has reportedly demanded to see her mental health records and want to quiz her husband, Robert, and psychologist, Dr Judith Lightfoot.

“Virginia believes Andrew should go to jail but leaving him broke and destroyed may be enough,” a source close to her legal team reveals. “She’s so angry at his arrogant behaviour.”

HER Majesty reportedly made up her mind straight after the judge announced his decision. In a terse two-line statement Buckingham Palace announced the Duke of York will no longer have the right to use the title His Royal Highness and he’ll be stripped of all his military titles and patronages.

His roles will be handed back to the queen with immediate effect for redistribution to other members of the royal family. The announcement also said he would be defending his sex abuse case, which is being held in the United States, “as a private citizen”.

The queen would likely also have been influenced by the recent guilty verdict of Epstein’s ex and convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in providing and grooming the girls for the late financier’s pleasure.

She also reportedly faced pressure from the military after 150 veterans wrote her a letter asking her to strip Andrew of his honorary military roles.

“Were this any other senior military officer it’s inconceivable that he’d still be in post,” they wrote in the letter, which was sent a day after Judge Kaplan’s ruling.

ANDREW was reportedly summoned for a 90-minute meeting with his mother at Windsor Castle where he was joined by his lawyer, Gary Bloxsome.

“This is about the survival of the institution at all costs,” a senior palace source explains.

Norman Baker, a royal commentator and former government minister, put it more bluntly. “Andrew has well and truly been chucked under the royal bus. But the royal family could not escape the immense damage the case would do.”

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