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Duke of York banned from public parts of Garter Day after ‘family decision’

The Duke of York is reportedly keen for a return to royal duties (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Duke of York is reportedly keen for a return to royal duties (Chris Jackson/PA)

The monarchy has taken a “family decision” to limit the disgraced Duke of York’s appearance on Garter Day to a behind-the-scenes lunch and investiture ceremony.

Andrew will not be seen in public during Garter Day, one of the most colourful events in the royal calendar, after the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge reportedly lobbied the Queen about his participation.

The duke’s reputation has been severely tarnished by his involvement in a civil sexual assault case, and it is understood a “family decision” was taken to reduce his involvement to a lunch and investiture ceremony for new Order of the Garter recipients, both held behind closed doors.

The Duke of York (left) and the Earl of Wessex
The Duke of York (left) and the Earl of Wessex at a previous Order of the Garter Service (Eddie Mulholland/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

The Queen had signalled her support for Andrew – rumoured to be her favourite child – by arriving with him for the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in March.

Andrew provided a steady arm for the Queen as she walked into Westminster Abbey to remember the life of her husband, a few weeks after he reached a multimillion-pound out-of-court settlement in a civil sexual assault case.

But there has been speculation senior members of the royal family did not approve of his appearance and it appears the Queen has conceded to their views regarding Garter Day staged at Windsor Castle.

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.”

The Queen will not be taking part in the procession of Garter Knights who walk through the grounds of Windsor Castle to St George’s Hall where the annual service commemorating the Order is held.

The Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess of Cornwall will be installed as a Royal Lady of the Order of the Garter (Chris Jackson/PA)

Given the monarch’s mobility issues the decision was expected and in past years she has travelled by car to the place of worship.

But the Queen is expected to attend the lunch and the investiture ceremony.

The news came as it was claimed Andrew wanted a return to something approaching his former status as a working member of the royal family.

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.”

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Charles, along with William, reportedly lobbied the Queen to limit Andrew’s participation in Garter Day (Yui Mok/PA

The Queen’s second son stepped away from public life after the furore over his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, He reportedly paid £12 million to settle the civil sexual assault case, to a woman he claimed never to have met.

The duke was cast out of the working monarchy after Virginia Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17.

Andrew denied the claims.

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

He had been set to join the wider royal family at a service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral on the second of the four-day Jubilee celebrations earlier this month but ahead of the ceremony it was announced that he had caught coronavirus.

Baroness Valerie Amos
Baroness Valerie Amos will be appointed Lady Companion of the Order (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

During Monday’s service, the Duchess of Cornwall will be installed as a Royal Lady of the Order of the Garter.

Meanwhile, a protest is expected in Windsor amid opposition to former prime minister Sir Tony Blair being appointed to the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

It was announced in December that the former Labour leader was to be appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter – the highest possible ranking.

More than 1.5 million signatures were gathered on a petition calling for the knighthood to be “rescinded”, claiming he was the “least deserving person of any public honour” and that he should be “held accountable for war crimes”.

Sir Tony was prime minister during the Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Stop the War said activists will gather at the Queen Victoria statue outside the castle on Monday in protest at Sir Tony’s appointment.

Also on Monday, Baroness Valerie Amos will be appointed Lady Companion of the Order.

The Labour member of the House of Lords, who was the first black person to become a cabinet member, will now also be the first black person appointed Lady Companion of the Order.