The moment that sealed Prince Andrew’s fate: When Sue from Leeds asked ‘Is the monarchy fit for purpose?’ in ITV leaders debate it terrified Buckingham Palace and forced Prince Charles to act
- One question put forward during TV debate saw prince sacked from public duty
- Viewer known only as ‘Sue from Leeds’ asked: ‘Is the monarchy fit for purpose?’
- Question sent shockwave through Buckingham Palace and forced Charles’ hand
- Future king expressed fear Epstein scandal was overshadowing general election
- Do you know viewer known as Sue from Leeds? Call 0203 6153767 or send an email to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
A simple question put forward during the ITV leader’s debate by a viewer known only as ‘Sue from Leeds’ was the catalyst that saw Prince Andrew sacked from public duties, it has been revealed.
Prince Charles told the Queen to make the Duke of York step down from public life over fears that the Epstein scandal was overshadowing the general election.
It is understood that the decision was taken after Sue – whose surname is not yet known – asked during Tuesday’s TV show: ‘Is the monarchy fit for purpose?’
Julie Etchingham, who was chairing the debate, put the question to party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, in a move that sent shockwaves through Buckingham Palace.
Royal sources claim in that moment, the Prince of Wales became convinced that his brother’s friendship with Jeffrey Epstein had become too much of a distraction.
Charles (left, in New Zealand with Camilla today) urged the Queen to have Andrew (right, with his brother) step down from royal duties
Julie Etchingham, who was chairing the debate, put the question to party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson (pictured), in a move that sent shockwaves through the palace
Prince Andrew (pictured leaving Buckingham Palace on Thursday) was told to step down from royal duties
Fears that the issue could be perceived as interfering with democracy served as the tipping point for the Prince of Wales, according to the Guardian.
The future king took it upon himself to speak about the issue with his mother, who effectively sacked the Duke of York from public duty at Charles’ behest.
Senior aides are also said to have expressed similar worries to the Queen about distracting from the election.
Other worries circulated about the fallout upstaging Charles and Camilla’s royal tour of New Zealand, with the pair heckled at one point in Christchurch today.
After sacking her ‘favourite son’, the Queen today gave a defiant show of support for Prince Andrew as she took him riding.
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Her Majesty and her ‘favourite son’ rode in the rain through the grounds of Windsor Castle this morning.
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’.
He had planned to fly to the Middle East to attend an event for with his Pitch@Palace initiative – less than 72 hours after being forced to retire from royal duties.
But hours after details of Andrew’s foreign jaunt emerged, sources said he had decided to cancel it and was with his mother instead today.
Despite the setback, he seemed upbeat yesterday. Dressed in a suit and tie, he gave a wave and a smile as he drove away from his family home in Windsor Great Park.
Prince Andrew looks at the Queen as they were riding through the Windsor Castle estate this morning – the first time they have been seen together since his disastrous TV interview
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Camilla and Charles today in Christchurch
The Prince of Wales greeted people during a public walk in Christchurch, New Zealand
The future king (in Christchurch today, left) took it upon himself to speak about the issue with his mother (right), who effectively sacked the Duke of York from public duty at Charles’ behest
Later his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was also all smiles as she was seen arriving at Buckingham Palace.
The prince announced on Wednesday evening his intention to ‘step back from public duties for the foreseeable future’ after he was widely criticised for his comments during a BBC Newsnight interview.
He was accused of showing a lack of empathy for Epstein’s victims and no remorse over his friendship with the financier. But yesterday’s cancelled plans to go to Bahrain proved, however, that he still clearly plans to continue working on private initiatives.
A source close to Andrew put a positive spin on this week’s dramatic events, saying: ‘Despite everything the duke is getting a lot of support. The entrepreneurs he helps have been tremendously sweet and kind.
‘This really feels like a witch-hunt. He’d been hounded about this since 2011 non stop. So he’s very positive about it actually. He can concentrate on clearing his name.’
Losing his patronage of the Outward Bound Trust will be a major blow to the duke, who only took over the role earlier this year, succeeding his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The charity helps disadvantaged children through outdoor activities. The University of Huddersfield had earlier stood by the duke but announced he was stepping down last night following an outcry by students.
The Duke of York leaves Buckingham Palace after spending the afternoon there on Tuesday
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