Prince Charles moved decisively to end his brother’s career in public life because of the damage being caused by the Duke of York’s “ill-judged” friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
“This is not about personalities, this is about protecting the institution of the monarchy itself,” a senior figure said.
Officially, Andrew, 59, made the decision to step down from royal duties “for the foreseeable future” after discussion with senior royals.
But sources said he was given no choice as Charles — on tour in New Zealand — and the Queen felt swift action was needed.
After informing the wider royal family, Buckingham Palace put out a statement shortly before 6pm on Andrew’s behalf, saying: “I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
The continuing fallout from the royal crisis came as:
The duke faced being stripped of the £249,000 “salary” that he receives from the Queen.
A lawyer representing some of Epstein’s alleged victims threatened to subpoena Andrew to force him to give evidence under oath.
It emerged the duke met Epstein’s ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell in London two weeks after US prosecutors announced they wanted to reopen their investigation into the tycoon.
The final straw for the Queen and Charles came when Andrew’s BBC Newsnight interview triggered a media frenzy and led to businesses and charities abandoning him.
Both were also alarmed that the royal family was being dragged into the election debate.
One well-placed senior royal source said: “Both Her Majesty and the Prince of Wales, despite being on the other side of the world, have been monitoring developments with increasing alarm."
They added: “This is not about personalities but about safeguarding the future of the institution of the monarchy itself. 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 love Andrew … but the health of the monarchy is too important to risk.”
The duke, who has seven full-time staff according to his website, could lose the reported £249,000 he receives from the Queen to cover official duties.
Lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents five of Epstein’s alleged victims, said she was considering serving a subpoena to force Andrew to answer questions on his relationship with the billionaire.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “We believe nobody is above the law and everybody should have to answer questions if they have relevant information — and he clearly does have relevant information.
"Documents should be turned over — emails, texts, calendars, phone logs, travel logs, so we can get to the bottom of this.”