With the Duke of York facing the prospect of a court showdown in a sexual assault civil trial, questions were raised again over his military roles and his future in the royal family in the Platinum Jubilee year.
But Andrew is now no longer Colonel of the Grenadier Guards – one of the most senior infantry regiments in the British Army, having been stripped of his honorary affiliations with the armed forces, as well as dropping his HRH style.
The development came on Thursday after calls from more than 150 veterans for the Queen to remove his eight British military appointments.
The other British honorary titles he has lost are: Honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth; Colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment; Colonel-in-chief of the Small Arms School Corps; Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm; Royal colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland; Deputy colonel-in-chief of The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeth’s Own); and Colonel-in-chief of the Yorkshire Regiment.
In August, it was reported the Queen, who is Colonel in Chief of the Grenadier Guards and head of the armed forces, told insiders she wanted her son to remain as colonel of the regiment – an honour he took over from his father the Duke of Edinburgh.
“The feeling is that nobody wants to do anything that could cause upset to the colonel-in-chief. It is a very difficult, unsatisfactory situation,” a military source told the Sunday Times.
In November 2019 after the duke stepped down from public duties, a Palace spokeswoman said of his then-230 patronages: “He will be stepping back from public duty and temporarily standing back from all his patronages.”
Charities rushed to distance themselves from the Queen’s second son after his disastrous Newsnight appearance about his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
2022 is meant to be a year of celebration for the Windsors, with the Queen less than a month away from reaching her Platinum Jubilee and the nation’s festivities for the historic occasion set for June.
Covid disrupted the past two Trooping the Colour parades, meaning the duke’s potential attendance in his role as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards or his absence were not an issue.
This year, Trooping the Colour forms part of the four-day Jubilee weekend. But the duke will be absent from the run of royal festivities.
Former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt, writing in The Spectator, said: “This is what a sacking looks like when you’re ninth in line to the British throne.
“No more appearances on the Buckingham Palace balcony; riding horseback during Trooping the Colour; or laying a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.”
The royal family is also set to gather for a thanksgiving service in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh in the spring.
The Westminster Abbey event, which may be televised, has the complication of being a family occasion for the Windsors and a public one for organisations Philip worked with during his decades of royal duty.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment earlier on whether Andrew would attend.
In part of its statement on Thursday, the Palace said: “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties.”
This could mean Andrew faces the prospect of not being able to attend his own father’s memorial service.
The duke, who was born a prince and a HRH, has given up his HRH style, and like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex he retains it but will not use it in any official capacity.
His mother gifted him his dukedom on his wedding day and is unlikely to remove it at this stage if at any.
Virginia Giuffre is suing the duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
She claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
The duke has strenuously denied the allegations.