Prince Andrew was last night forced to pull out of a work junket to Bahrain this weekend after being persuaded by his family that it was ‘not a good idea’ in light of this week’s dramatic events.
The beleaguered royal had planned to fly to the Middle East to attend an event connected with his Pitch@Palace initiative – less than 72 hours after being forced to step down from royal duties over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.
But hours after the Daily Mail contacted Buckingham Palace to say it was about to reveal details of Andrew’s foreign jaunt, sources said he had decided to cancel it.
Prince Andrew (pictured leaving Buckingham Palace today) was told to cancel his trip to Bahrain amid the controversy over his friendship with Epstein
Pictured: Sarah Ferguson arrives at Buckingham Palace, central London, today after coming out in support of Prince Andrew in light of the backlash over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein
Prince Andrew arrives at Buckingham Palace and gets out of his Bentley around noon today before heading to a Pitch@Palace meeting in Dubai after the Queen sacked him from royal duties
The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace this afternoon after carrying out investitures and heads to Windsor amid the furious backlash about her son’s friendship with Epstein
The Duchess of York is pictured with Ghislane Maxwell, the girlfriend of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, on 5th Avenue in New York City in 2003
Sarah Ferguson (pictured at Aberdeen Airport in August) has come out in defence of Andrew despite him being mired in controversy over his friendship with Epstein
The Duke leaves the Royal Lodge family home at Windsor Great Park in Berkshire this morning after he stepped down from royal duties yesterday
Last Friday, Sarah came out in support of Andrew with a statement posted on social media in which she praised his ‘sense of honour and truth’
Andrew appears to hold Jeffrey Epstein’s victim Virginia Roberts, then 17, by the waist as the sex offender’s lover Ghislaine Maxwell looks on in 2001 in London
These are the 35 businesses that support the duke’s project Pitch@Palace. Ten have now quit – five businesses (Advertising Week Europe, KPMG, Aon, Standard Chartered and Gravity Road) and five academic institutions (Bond University in Queensland, Melbourne’s RMIT, University of Wollongong, Murdoch University in Perth and Fondation Rideau Hall in Canada). The Stelios Foundation and the Chinese Li Ka Shing Foundation are the only two standing by him
The Duke of York speaks to BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis in an interview shown on Saturday which led to a furious backlash about the prince’s friendship with Epstein
Andrew made the bombshell statement about stepping back yesterday after mounting pressure after his interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein
Defiant Prince Andrew carries on: Royal will fly to Bahrain for Pitch@Palace event despite being sacked from public duties by The Queen after his brother Charles ‘urged her to act to protect the monarchy’
By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter for MailOnline, and Rebecca English, Royal Corresponded for the Daily Mail
Prince Andrew will fly on an official junket to Bahrain in the next 24 hours in an act of defiance after it was revealed Prince Charles told the Queen to sack him from all royal duties to save the monarchy.
The Duke of York will jet to the Gulf to try to save his beloved Pitch@Palace charity as a slew of big businesses pulled their sponsorship to avoid being associated with him after his disastrous BBC interview about Jeffrey Epstein and his ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts.
Andrew will be the guest of honour at the Dragons’ Den-style event at a luxury hotel in Bahrain on Saturday night and the winners will be invited to a bash at St James’ Palace in London next month.
Andrew is under massive pressure to speak to the FBI – his brother Prince Charles is said to be instrumental in getting him to step down
The Queen was serious at a Chatham House award event in London last night and had spoken to he son Charles, who is in New Zealand (pictured today)
Critics have questioned the timing of the trip just days after he said he was ‘stepping down’ from public duties for the ‘foreseeable future’.
And amid extraordinary scenes today Andrew smiled and waved as he drove himself in his Bentley to see the Queen again on the morning after she retired him from royal duties. Hours later, just after Her Majesty left for Windsor Castle, the Duchess of York, turned up at Buckingham Palace to see her ex-husband.
It was an overt show of support for Andrew, who she called a ‘true giant of a principled man’ this week, wound down her Range Rover’s window to greet armed police before heading through the gates.
Today it emerged that Prince of Wales acted ‘decisively’ to force out his younger brother yesterday having called his mother from his tour of New Zealand urging her to cut off the Duke of York having become ‘increasingly alarmed’ the scandal was engulfing the entire royal family.
Her Majesty agreed and then summoned her ‘favourite son’ to deliver the bad news and told him he would lose his £250,000 taxpayer-funded salary and would only appear in public at family events.
A senior royal source told the Evening Standard today that Charles had told their mother: ‘This is about protecting the institution of the monarchy itself’, adding that ‘swift action’ was imperative.
Charles (pictured with Andrew and their children at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2012) spoke to the Queen and decided the Duke of York should step down. The brothers have clashed in the past about the royal roles of Andrew’s his children
The insider added: ‘There could be only one conclusion… The Duke of York had to withdraw from the fray and from public life. It is very sad. Obviously, both the Queen and the prince [Charles] love Andrew – but the health of the monarchy is too important to risk’.
Prince Andrew, who has not always seen eye-to-eye with his older brother, is back at Buckingham Palace today to see the Queen for the first time since she sacked him. It was business as usual for the monarch as she later held an investiture ceremony.
Charles and Andrew had a recent high-profile row over whether the Duke of York’s daughters Beatrice and Eugenie should enjoy the perks given to Charles’ children William and Harry – and now the sisters’ public roles and income are likely to fall after their father’s demise.
Beatrice’s wedding plans for next year are also up in the air and may even be scaled back, especially as Eugenie’s nuptials last year cost British taxpayers around £2million.
The solemn-looking Duke of York arrived this afternoon to discuss his future and if he can continue his Dragons’ Den-inspired charity Pitch@Palace without any royal patronage – and away from the palace – as a slew of big businesses pulled their sponsorship to avoid being associated with him.
The Outward Bound Trust has also announced Andrew has resigned as the organisation’s patron – but his daughter Princess Beatrice will remain a trustee.
Despite his public life being largely over at the age of 59, the duke smiled and waved as he left his grace-and-favour Windsor home driving his £170,000 Bentley Flying Spur sports car as calls for him to give evidence to the FBI under oath reached fever pitch.
The Duke of York is today being urged to fly to America to speak to detectives, with lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein’s victims warning him ‘any delay’ must lead to US agents heading to London to interview him before Christmas.
Buckingham Palace is ‘braced’ for the ‘imminent’ arrival of a subpoena summoning Andrew to give evidence under oath in the US, according to the Telegraph, but leading QC Baroness Helena Kennedy, said if he was her client she’d advise him never to go to America again in case he is arrested and can never leave.
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents five of Epstein’s ‘slaves’, wants to force him to give evidence in the US – but prosecutors would treat him as a witness to help prosecute Epstein’s ‘helpers’ and co-conspirators rather than a criminal suspect.
Ms Bloom said: ‘Andrew and his staff must cooperate with all investigations, show up for civil depositions and trials, and produce all documents. Nobody is above the law and everybody should have to answer questions’.
The Queen took decisive action against her second son last night in a desperate bid to contain the fall-out from the duke’s disastrous Newsnight interview about his years of friendship with the paedophile.
Andrew will lose his £249,000 annual income from the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant as a result – but will keep his grace-and-favour home in Windsor and cash will still come in from his mother’s Duchy of Lancaster estate, the source of her multi-million pound private income.
The Duke wanted to speak to the BBC but he was skewered by Emily Maitlis. The misjudgment triggered days of catastrophic headlines and caused a string of businesses and charities to desert him, with experts calling it the biggest crisis to grip the royal family for decades.
Royal expert Penny Junor said: ‘I would think the Queen is horrified – it’s been a disastrous year’ and biographer Ingrid Seward, Editor in Chief of Majesty Magazine, said: ‘I have never known anything like this in living memory’.
Andrew has been pilloried for his TV performance because of a lack of contrition for his friendship with the paedophile and his failure to express sympathy for the dozens of women Epstein trafficked and abused over three decades.
His alibis for not having sex with Virginia Roberts three times including being in Woking’s Pizza Express have also been widely ridiculed by the public. And now his claim he was with Britain’s consul general in New York when Ms Roberts said they slept together in 2001 became at odds with the diplomat in question, Sir Thomas Harris, who said last night: ‘I don’t recall him staying with me’.