Prince Andrew void could leave Kate with difficult decision to make about her children

Royal writer Daniela Elser claimed that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge “will likely suffer the most” from the fallout from the scandal surrounding Prince Andrew. Ms Elser said that the void left by Prince Andrew’s departure from royal life may have a negative impact on the Duchess, as she may be forced to let her children step up into their royal roles “sooner than they might have wanted”, undoing the “extraordinary lengths” the couple has gone to give their children a normal life.

She said: “Since Andrew initially stepped down as a working member of the royal family, a number of his former official roles including with the English National Ballet and the Outward Bound Trust have remained empty.

“Now, after the Queen’s defenestration of her son, there are even more vacancies which will need to be filled, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, Royal Colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, and Royal Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

“Factor in too here the positions left vacant, including President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, patron of the Royal National Theatre and Captain General of the Royal Marines, thanks to the hasty exit of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2020.

“It is into this breach that Kate, William and later their children will be required to step.

“There is no way to get away from the fact that the monarchy is simply running out of able hands to do their bit.

“They are not only an ageing workforce (the Cambridges are the only ones under the age of 55) but a fast shrinking one with the Palace having lost 27 per cent of their full-time royal ‘staff’ since 2019 with the resignations of not only Andrew but the Sussexes too.”

“This situation could also put pressure on the couple to put their children to work sooner than they might have hoped.

“While the duke and duchess have gone to extraordinary lengths to give their sons and daughter as normal of a life as possible, those good intentions could be about to brutally collide with the reality of the fact that the royal family is now chronically shorthanded.”

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She added: “Any hopes William and Kate have had about putting off their son and heir’s royal future have taken a hit and George’s public journey to the throne could begin sooner than they might have wanted.”

While Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties “for the foreseeable future” in November 2019, the royal was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages earlier this week.

A royal source said the titles had been returned to the Queen with immediate effect and will be redistributed to other members of the Royal Family, but the Palace did not specify who would be receiving them.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen.

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“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

The announcement came just days after Judge Lewis A Caplan’s ruling that the civil case against Andrew will proceed to trial.

The 61-year-old royal’s defence team had attempted to get the case dismissed by citing a 2009 deal, signed by Virginia Giuffre and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, which saw Ms Giuffre agree not to sue any “potential defendants”.

Andrew will face a civil case in the United States over allegations he sexually abused Ms Giuffre in 2001 when she was 17.

Ms Guiffre claims she was trafficked by Epstein and fellow convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell to be abused by Andrew.

The Duke of York has repeatedly and strenuously denied the allegations.