Royal staff 'want to BANISH Prince Andrew from the Royal Family's Christmas Day church outing'

Daily Mail Online 1 week ago

Royal staff could ban Prince Andrew from attending the Royal Family's Christmas Day church service over fears of protests, a royal source has revealed.

Courtiers are understood to be concerned that sex abuse campaigners could infiltrate the crowds, keeping the glaring spotlight on the Duke of York's friendship with the millionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew stepped down from public duties last month in the wake of his disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight over Epstein and allegations he had slept with a 17-year-old girl, Virginia Roberts. The duke strenuously denied the claim. 

Last night a royal insider told The Sun: 'There are now genuine concerns over sex abuse campaigners planning to be part of the crowds to jeer the Duke publicly.

Courtiers are concerned that sex abuse campaigners could infiltrate the crowds, keeping the glaring spotlight on the Duke of York's friendship with the millionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (pictured: Prince Andrew is flanked by his daughters Princess Beatrice (left) and Princess Eugenie at the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham on December 25, 2015 in King's Lynn, England)
Courtiers are concerned that sex abuse campaigners could infiltrate the crowds, keeping the glaring spotlight on the Duke of York's friendship with the millionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (pictured: Prince Andrew is flanked by his daughters Princess Beatrice (left) and Princess Eugenie at the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham on December 25, 2015 in King's Lynn, England)
After dancing at Tramp's, Miss Roberts claims she slept with Andrew at the Belgravia home of alleged pimp Ghislaine Maxwell, where this now infamous photo was allegedly taken
After dancing at Tramp's, Miss Roberts claims she slept with Andrew at the Belgravia home of alleged pimp Ghislaine Maxwell, where this now infamous photo was allegedly taken 

'They know the world's media would be there and it would end up dominating headlines of the day.

'There is now real fear from officials about the protest turning violent. It's more about the further embarrassment it would cause to the Royal Family.'

But the source added that the Prince, who is often seen attending church with the Queen, could insist on attending the sermon.

Her Majesty, who has been left 'deeply upset' by the Epstein saga, would be unable to tell her son not to attend, the source added.  

It comes as sources revealed on Wednesday that Prince Charles 'read the riot act' to his brother in a dramatic showdown at Sandringham. 

The Prince of Wales is said to have dragged his younger sibling to the royal estate for a crunch summit where he effectively retired the duke from his public duties.

Charles told his embattled brother there was 'no way back into the family in the near future' after the public outcry that followed his car crash BBC interview.

Prince Philip also joined his sons for the light lunch, which took place shortly before the BBC interview with Andrew's accuser Virginia Roberts aired on Monday.

The Prince of Wales' key role in 'retiring' Prince Andrew from public life has fed speculation he is preparing to adopt a modern 'Prince Regent' role.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York attend Sunday Service at St Peter's Church in Wolferton on January 20, 2019 in King's Lynn, England
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York attend Sunday Service at St Peter's Church in Wolferton on January 20, 2019 in King's Lynn, England
The Prince of Wales (left) and the Duke of York arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk
The Prince of Wales (left) and the Duke of York arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk

Such a position would see him control day-to-day royal affairs while his mother remains monarch. 

Her Majesty will turn 95 in 18 months, the same age at which her husband Philip withdrew from his public duties.

There is talk among courtiers that she may use the milestone to effectively hand over day-to-day control of the monarchy to Charles. 

The Queen has been gradually reducing the number of public engagements she attends from 332 in 2016 to 283 in 2018. Charles, meanwhile, undertook 507.

Andrew faced fresh humiliation this week after Miss Roberts gave an interview to the BBC in which she reinforced claims she was forced into sleeping with the royal.

Sources close to Andrew last night accused the BBC of allowing his accuser to 'cry a lot' and protested over the differing treatment of their two separate BBC interviews.

The crisis deepened last night as a new witness claimed she was 'feet away' from Prince Andrew and Miss Roberts as they danced in a nightclub.

Lisa Bloom, lawyer for victims of Jeffrey Epstein, says an as-yet-unnamed woman 'vividly remembers' seeing the pair at Tramp nightclub in Mayfair in March 2001. 

Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein in Manhattan in 2010. The duke quit his role as UK trade envoy the following year in the wake of the fallout from the Central Park photos
Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein in Manhattan in 2010. The duke quit his role as UK trade envoy the following year in the wake of the fallout from the Central Park photos

Miss Roberts has claimed that she was forced to have sex with Andrew that evening by her alleged sex trafficker Epstein, having danced with the prince inside the club. 

In his own 'disastrous' BBC interview with Emily Maitlis last month, Andrew claimed he 'was never in Tramp's' with Miss Roberts, now known as Virginia Roberts-Guiffre. 

He also added that it could not have happened on the date suggested as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking. 

However Miss Bloom has revealed the new witness claims to have seen Andrew with the then-17-year-old and was willing to speak to Scotland Yard and the FBI.

Ms Bloom told The Sun: 'She says that in 2001 she was at the Tramp nightclub and recalls seeing Prince Andrew.

'It was pointed out to her by a member of her group.

'The woman remembers it vividly. She had never seen a royal before or since.

'It was a very big moment for her — she stared at him.

Andrew was interviewed by Emily Maitlis in a Newsnight programme shown on November 16, during which he refuted the suggestion that he went to Tramp's nightclub with Miss Roberts
Andrew was interviewed by Emily Maitlis in a Newsnight programme shown on November 16, during which he refuted the suggestion that he went to Tramp's nightclub with Miss Roberts
Jeffrey Epstein and his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are pictured in New York in March 2005
Jeffrey Epstein and his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are pictured in New York in March 2005

'She says he was with Virginia, who looked very young and not happy, but Andrew was smiling and seemed to be very much enjoying himself on the dancefloor.

'She remembered it all these years and when she saw Prince Andrew on television a few weeks ago denying he knew Virginia, she was very displeased about that.

'We decided the best thing to do is to go to the FBI and Scotland Yard. I believe her to be credible.

'She is not asking for any money or making a legal claim — she just wants to tell her story. She is very afraid but thinks speaking out is very important.'

After dancing at Tramp's, Miss Roberts claims she slept with Andrew at the nearby Belgravia home of alleged pimp Ghislaine Maxwell.

It was here that the now notorious photo of the prince and Miss Roberts was allegedly taken, however sources close to Andrew have questioned its authenticity.

Sources close to the Duke last night criticised BBC Panorama for failing to challenge Miss Roberts on her claims that she was forced into having sex with Andrew.

One source told the Daily Telegraph: 'I don't think he [the Duke] has been given a fair trial.

'She wasn't cross-examined on any of the details. She was allowed to say what she wanted and cry a lot.

The Duke of York has previously been pictured at Tramp, which has marked its half century this year.

He met former girlfriend Koo Stark there, and was also photographed there with the Duchess of York.

Photographers captured him leaving the bar as a 23-year-old in 1983, in the early hours of the morning in 1986, and with pregnant wife Sarah in March 1990.  

Miss Roberts has previously claimed that during their first meeting, when she was 17, a group including Andrew had dinner and then went dancing at Tramp's.

But he told Emily Maitlis in his BBC interview: 'I'm convinced that I was never in Tramp's with her.

'There are a number of things that are wrong with that story, one of which is that I don't know where the bar is in Tramp's.

'I don't drink, I don't think I've ever bought a drink in Tramp's whenever I was there.' 

Miss Roberts repeated her assertion that they slept together in London during her BBC Panorama interview last night.

She said: 'Ghislaine tells me I have to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey and that made me sick.

'I just didn't expect it from royalty. I didn't expect it from someone people look up to and admire.

Prince Andrew leaving Tramp in the 1980s. He met former girlfriend Koo Stark there, and was also photographed there with the Duchess of York
Prince Andrew leaving Tramp in the 1980s. He met former girlfriend Koo Stark there, and was also photographed there with the Duchess of York 
Prince Andrew pictured outside Mayfair nightclub Tramp in the 1980s. The prince has denied any claims that he preyed on Virginia Roberts in the Mayfair nightclub before taking advantage of her at the Belgravia home of Ghislaine Maxwell in March 2001
Prince Andrew pictured outside Mayfair nightclub Tramp in the 1980s. The prince has denied any claims that he preyed on Virginia Roberts in the Mayfair nightclub before taking advantage of her at the Belgravia home of Ghislaine Maxwell in March 2001
The prince has denied any claims that he preyed on Virginia Roberts at the fashionable Mayfair club
The prince has denied any claims that he preyed on Virginia Roberts at the fashionable Mayfair club 

'It didn't last very long. The whole thing, procedure - it was disgusting. He got up and said "thanks" and walked out and I sat there in bed.

'The next day Ghislaine pats me on the back and said "you made him really happy". I had just been abused by a member of the royal family.'

Andrew has claimed he had a medical condition in 2001, after suffering an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War which meant he did not sweat.

He also denied having sex with Miss Roberts, saying: 'I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened', adding: 'I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady.' 

She alleges that the duke slept with her on three separate occasions, twice in the States where at 17 she was under age. 


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