Senior military leaders have privately called Prince Andrew ‘toxic’ and he is expected to do the decent thing and step down as senior military officials hope he spares the Queen
Prince Andrew is under pressure to relinquish his nine military roles, defense sources say.
Senior officials are hoping he will step down so the Queen doesn’t have to strip him of his honorary titles.
The disclosure comes after senior military leaders called Andrew, 61, “toxic.”
Defense sources told The Sunday People that the Army’s top commanders believe it is now impossible for the Duke of York to continue in his role as Colonel-in-Chief of nine regiments, units and military corps.
His close friendship with sexual predators Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell has been described by defense sources as “untenable”.
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While any decision on removing the prince’s titles will come from the Queen and Buckingham Palace officials, there will be no objection from the armed forces, defense sources have confirmed.
The move would be another devastating blow to the Queen, who was reluctantly forced to strip Prince Harry’s grandson of his honorary military titles because he had stepped down from royal duties.
A former defense chief said the duke’s association with the armed forces was now effectively over and the only question debated was how best to handle the crisis from a “presentation point of view.”
A source said he expected an announcement from Buckingham Palace that Andrew would step down permanently from all royal duties and step down from his honorary military titles.
A former defense chief said the duke’s only silver lining was that the civil case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre would fail.
Giuffre, 38, is suing the Queen’s son in New York for sexually assaulting her as a teenager.
She claims to have been trafficked by billionaire financier Epstein into having sex with the Duke.
Virginia was 17 when she was pictured with Andrew, then 41, and Ghislaine Maxwell at Maxwell’s home in London. Andrew strongly denies all the allegations.
The former defense chief said: “If the case is successful, he has to go and it is the right decision.” Other senior officers claim Andrew’s reputation is now so badly damaged by allegations of sexual abuse and his friendship with Epstein and Maxwell that he could never attend a military ceremony again.
Maxwell, 60, is in prison in New York City awaiting sentencing after being convicted this week of recruiting underage girls to have sex with Epstein.
The 66-year-old financier was found dead in his New York cell in 2019 pending trial on sex charges.
A high profile source said: âEven though Andrew is completely exempt from any wrongdoing, he is now considered toxic. He is expected to do the decent thing and quit.
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The Duke, who had an active 21-year career in the Royal Navy and served in the Falklands War in 1982, currently holds the honorary rank of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards. He is also Colonel-in-Chief of the 9 / 12th Royal Lancers, the Royal Irish Regiment, the Yorkshire Regiment, the Small Arms School Corps and the Royal Colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers.
In addition, he is Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Lossiemouth, Chief Commodore of the Fleet Air Arm and Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps.
Protocol surrounding honorary titles means that the decision to remove him rests with the Queen, not with the armed forces.
The Queen makes the appointments and only she can withdraw them, as she did when she decided Harry should lose his military titles. While defense chiefs can make their views known on Andrew retaining his military titles at Buckingham Palace, it is not their responsibility to demand the prince’s resignation.
A former senior member of the Royal Irish Regiment said: âThe role of Colonel-in-Chief is extremely important and the Royal Irish take it very seriously.
âThe prince is expected to attend ceremonies and parades, which he has done in the past.
âHe always showed a keen interest in the regiment and wanted to be kept informed of events, including any issues he felt he could help with.
âBut it’s now seen as toxic and embarrassing. He is so badly damaged that there is no way to go back and the best thing he can do now is relinquish all of his military titles and sever ties with the armed forces for good.
The Ministry of Defense and the Palace declined to comment.