Prince Andrew ‘will not return to royal duties’ despite family get together at Balmoral

The royal family’s show of public support for Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, does not mean he will return to formal public duties, it has been reported.

Prince Andrew joined his family over the weekend at the Balmoral Estate, where the King and Queen are continuing the late Queen Elizabeth’s summer tradition of holidaying in the Scottish Highlands.

The disgraced duke was spotted with the Prince and Princess of Wales as they drove together to the Crathie Kirk church near Balmoral Castle on Sunday (27 August). Meanwhile, Prince Edward, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, Princess Anne, and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence also rode together.

It has been reported that the duke has been invited join his family at Balmoral on the one-year anniversary of the late Queen’s death on 8 September, which is also King Charles’s accession day. Andrew was also reportedly invited by the King to join the summer trip to the Scottish residence, in what has been called an “olive branch” intended to thaw family tensions.

Sources told The Telegraph that no matter how unified the royal family may seem within their personal relationships, Prince Andrew’s public status will not change again.

The duke stepped down from royal duties in 2019 over his links to convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. In January 2022, he was stripped of his HRH titles after he was accused of sexual assault by Virginia Giuffre, a victim of Epstein’s. He has vehemently and continuously denied these claims.

Prince Andrew still attends public-facing family events and resides at Royal Lodge in Windsor with his ex-wife, the Duchess of York, despite attempts earlier in the year from the King to relocate the duke to the smaller Frogmore Cottage – the first UK residence of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex until recently.

One source told The Telegraph that the King is “absolutely resolute” that there can be “no return to public duties” for the disgraced duke. The source added that the King would not let his personal feelings for his brother affect Prince Andrew’s royal status.

Prince Andrew photographed in December 2022 (PA)
Prince Andrew photographed in December 2022 (PA)

“[The King] has always been clear that the duke is a much-loved member of the family, but that does not mean there will be a change in tack when it comes to his royal status,” the source said.

Prince Andrew’s appearance at Balmoral follows ex-home secretary Dame Priti Patel’s apology to the King for causing “embarrassment and difficulties” after reportedly sending an email suggesting a review of the Duke of York’s armed security.

According to reports, Andrew no longer has taxpayer-funded police protection after giving up his HRH style.

​​Dame Priti told the newspaper: “It is disappointing that this correspondence has been leaked into the public domain and I apologise to His Majesty for the embarrassment and difficulties the publishing of this correspondence has caused.”