William warning scuppers Andrew’s return to Royal fold

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rince William was so alarmed at the prospect of his shamed uncle Prince Andrew’s attempted royal comeback he warned that he might have to pull out of Monday’s Order of the Garter ceremony.

The Duke of Cambridge made it clear that unless the Duke of York — who had hoped to attend the ancient event at Windsor as a member of the order — was banned from taking his place in public among the knights, he wouldn’t be able to take part. The dramatic move, which comes amid suggestions Andrew wants his HRH status reinstated and position recognised and respected, shows the heightened tensions at the heart of the royal family over his planned comeback.

“The Duke of Cambridge was adamant. If York insisted on taking part publicly, he would withdraw,” a senior source said. Buckingham Palace has been contacted for comment.

Prince Andrew arriving at Windsor Castle earlier

/ Jim Bennett

Instead, Prince Andrew was only due to take part in the non-public aspects of Monday’s ceremony, where Sir Tony Blair, the Duchess of Cornwall and Baroness Amos were being installed as members of Britain’s most prestigious royal order of chivalry. The Duke of York was pictured arriving at Windsor by car shortly before midday on Monday.

He did not take part in the procession of Garter Knights who walk through the grounds of the castle to St George’s Hall, where the annual service commemorating the order is held. Members wear velvet robes and plumed caps for the procession.

Andrew has rarely been seen in public since stepping down from royal duties over his links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. He lost many of his titles amid the highly-damaging case brought by sex abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre, 38, which led to a multi-million-pound settlement in February.

He consistently denied the allegations against him and the settlement was not an admission of guilt. Although no longer a “working royal” and not using the HRH title, Prince Andrew is still a “royal companion” of the Order of the Garter. He was hoping to use his appearance at Monday’s ceremony as a first step to returning to public life.

Royals including Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as the Countess of Wessex were pictured arriving at the ceremony on Monday afternoon.

The Queen did not take part in the procession, though this was expected due to her mobility issues.

However, she did attend the lunch and the investiture ceremony. She was pictured with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Windsor Castle ahead of the service at St George’s Chapel.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall with Queen Elzabeth II (centre) at Windsor Castle ahead of the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George’s Chapel.

/ PA

The procession walks to St George’s Chapel for the Order of the Garter service at Windsor Castle,

/ AP

According to today’s Sun newspaper his comeback hopes were quashed by both William and Prince Charles. The Queen, who has a soft spot for Andrew, is understood to sympathise with his predicament, but backed William and Charles’ judgment. They reportedly agreed that Andrew should miss the public elements of the event to protect the reputation of the royal family after a hugely successful jubilee weekend.

Buckingham Palace confirmed Andrew would attend a private lunch and ceremony investing new members of the order. It is understood the decision for Andrew not to take part publicly was a “family decision”.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The Duke of York will attend the investiture and lunch today but will not be part of the procession or service.” In January, ahead of his legal settlement in the Giuffre case, the Queen stripped Andrew of his honorary military roles, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and he gave up his HRH title.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex attend the Order of the Garter Service at St. Georges’s Chapel

/ Getty Images

The Telegraph reported 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.”

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