Thursday, 26 May 2022

Queen took ‘sensible’ balcony ban decision without ‘much persuading’

Queen’s mobility issues ‘bring her down’ says Levin

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Buckingham Palace announced earlier this month the monarch had decided, after “careful consideration”, to watch the upcoming Trooping the Colour parade and the following flypast surrounded only by full-time working members of the Firm. This means the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York won’t join the Queen on the balcony of her London residence in a few weeks’ time.

Royal author Nigel Cawthorne described this decision as “sensible” and likely to have been taken by the sovereign without the need for “much persuading.”

Asked if he believed Prince Charles and Prince William may have played a role in this decision, the author told “I am sure Charles and William will be pretty pleased they are not there.

“I don’t think the Queen would have taken much persuading after the furore that happened after Prince Andrew’s appearance at Westminster Abbey in March for the memorial ceremony.

“It was a sensible thing for her to do.”

Asked if he believes the Queen thought the Duke of York had become a distraction on the Thanksgiving Service for Prince Philip held two months ago, Mr Cawthorne added: “Yes, clearly she was very much in love with her husband and wanted his life to be celebrated and the whole appearance of Andrew kind of eclipsed that.”

The Queen and Andrew travelled together from Windsor to London on the day of the service – the only in-person event Her Majesty has attended this year outside of her residence.

Mother and son arrived at a side entrance of the abbey near Poets’ Corner and walked down the nave together.

Pictures of the Duke accompanying the Queen and sitting in the front row during the service were the main focus of the coverage that followed the poignant event held as a tribute to the life and work of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Mr Cawthorne, author of Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell and the Palace, believes the presence of the Duke of York on the balcony on the opening day of celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee next month could have had a similar effect.

He said: “I am sure that’s the case, Meghan, Harry and the Duke of York would be a terrible distraction, particularly Andrew.”

Prince Andrew stepped back from public duties in November 2019, following his disastrous interview with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis entirely focused on his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

In January this year, he returned to the Queen his military and royal patronages after New York judge Lewis A. Kaplan did not throw out the civil lawsuit launched a few months prior against Andrew by Virginia Giuffre, who accused him of sexual assault.

Buckingham Palace also said in a statement Andrew would continue not to carry out royal duties and a royal source added the Duke would not be allowed to use his HRH style in any official capacity.

The Duke repeatedly and vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

In February, he reached an out of court settlement with Ms Giuffre, which did not consist of an admission of guilt on Andrew’s behalf.

Meghan and Prince Harry stepped down as senior royals at the end of March 2020 after having sought without success to carve out a “progressive new role” for themselves within the Royal Family.

They have since relocated to California, where they launched a new organisation, Archewell, which comprises a video and audio production house and a non-profit foundation.

Upon announcing the monarch would only be surrounded by working royals, Buckingham Palace said in a statement dated May 6: “After careful consideration, The Queen has decided this year’s traditional Trooping the Colour balcony appearance on Thursday 2nd June will be limited to Her Majesty and those Members of the Royal Family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of The Queen.”

However, the sovereign will also be joined by a few non-working members of the Firm: the three children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the two children of the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Princess Anne’s husband.

Despite not being invited on the balcony on June 2, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they will travel across the pond with their children Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana and Archie Harrison to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.

A spokesperson for the couple said a few minutes after the Palace’s announcement: “Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are excited and honoured to attend The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this June with their children.”

The Sussexes may attend a few events open to all members of the Royal Family, such as the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral or the Epsom Derby.

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