Prince Andrew to miss Windsor Castle procession after ‘family decision’

The Duke of York will not take part in the traditional Garter Day procession at Windsor Castle after a “family decision”, which will keep him once more from public view.

While Prince Andrew, as a garter knight, will attend the investiture of new members of the ancient order of chivalry, and the annual lunch, he will not walk with others from Windsor Castle down to St George’s chapel, it has been confirmed.

The latest development came after unconfirmed reports that Andrew wished to find a way to engineer a return to some form of public life, including regaining his honorary military role as colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

The Queen is expected to attend the Garter investiture and the lunch, but not the procession, according to sources.

News that the Duke of York would not take part in the procession followed a report in the Sun that he had been banned from appearing after the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge lobbied the Queen. Senior royals feared a “backlash”, the newspaper said, adding that Charles and William were said to have agreed to their approach before telling the Queen, who made the final decision.

Palace aides would say only that it was a “family decision”.

Andrew missed the platinum jubilee celebrations after testing positive for Covid-19. Although the Queen had decided that neither he nor the Duke and Duchess of Sussex should appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony alongside working royals, they were invited to the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. However, it was then announced Andrew had coronavirus and would not be attending.

His last public engagement was the memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh in March, when he escorted his mother.

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.”

Andrew stepped down from public duties after his controversial Newsnight interview about his friendship with the billionaire financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York then faced a civil sexual assault lawsuit in the US brought by Virginia Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, and who accused Andrew of sexually assaulting her when she was 17. Andrew has denied the claims, but settled the lawsuit for a reported £12m.

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

During Monday’s service, the Duchess of Cornwall will be installed as a royal lady of the Order of the Garter. A protest is also expected in Windsor against Tony Blair being appointed at a garter knight, with more than 1.5m signatures gathered on a petition calling for the knighthood to be “rescinded”,

The Labour peer and former cabinet minister Lady Valerie Amos will be the first black person the Queen has appointed to the Order of the Garter.

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