King Charles ordered Prince William to drive his disgraced uncle Prince Andrew to church in Balmoral on Sunday, a new report suggests.
A report in U.K. tabloid the Mirror by that paper’s respected royal correspondent Russell Myers says the king “overruled” his son’s objections, and ordered “the family to fall in line in welcoming the disgraced Duke of York back into the family fold.”
Earlier this week, sources told The Daily Beast that while there was no prospect of a return to public life as a working royal for Andrew, the king wanted to show that he was still part of the family.
“Andrew won’t ever have the same ceremonial role within the family, he is no longer and never will be a working royal. That is clear,” a friend of the king told The Daily Beast. “But he is part of the family. He is the king’s brother. He has not been found guilty of any crime and I think it’s fair to say that the king is making it clear that he won’t turn his back on his brother.”
Now, however, Myers says it was the king himself who “suggested” that William and Kate should drive Andrew to church, despite William’s well-known hostility to his uncle.
Myers cites a Balmoral insider as saying there “had been some confusion over how Andrew, 63, would be travelling to church until he received a call on Sunday morning prior to going.”
The insider said of William and Kate’s public demonstration of support for Andrew: “It’s more than he (Andrew) could have wished for.”
The apparent return of Andrew from royal exile under the reign of King Charles is particularly extraordinary as it is widely understood to have been Charles who spearheaded the drive to strip Andrew of his military titles, charity patronages, and his permission to use his HRH title.
Andrew also lost his office at Buckingham Palace, personal protection, and an annual stipend of around $300,000. The sanctions came shortly before he paid Jeffrey Epstein trafficking victim Virginia Giuffre a reputed $14 million settlement over allegations he raped her. He denies the claims.
The court case was triggered by a disastrous interview with the BBC in which he denied recalling ever having met Giuffre, implied that a photograph of him with his arm around the bare midriff of a teenage Giuffre was a fake and said he couldn’t have been with her on the day the photograph was taken because he was eating pizza with his children.
Just last year, both William and Charles reportedly threatened to pull out of a Garter Day parade at Windsor Castle if Andrew was allowed to participate.
Now, however, Charles apparently is ready to welcome Andrew back into the family, with the source telling the Mirror: “The king feels he has an awful lot on his in-tray and this is one issue he wants to draw a line under.”
And it seems that whatever William’s objections, they have been disregarded, with a source saying of William: “It appears he may have had his wings clipped somewhat.”