Double humiliation for Andrew and Harry: Palace seeks to strip both princes of their prized royal status as Counsellors of State - as it's revealed 'they WON'T receive Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medals like other veterans'

  • Buckingham Palace is considering how to remove the role of Counsellors of State from Harry and Andrew
  • Counsellors of State would be called upon to take place of the Queen if she was unable to carry out duties
  • They would be authorised to sign documents, attend meetings and receive credentials of new ambassadors
  • Separately, neither will be eligible for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee medal having lost their honorary titles 

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How Andrew and Harry would be embarrassed by removal of Counsellors of State and missing out on Platinum Jubilee medal

COUNSELLORS OF STATE

Prince Andrew and Prince Harry both face losing their roles as Counsellors of State which would be hugely embarrassing for them and an unprecedented move that would require an Act of Parliament to make it happen.

Counsellors of State are authorised to carry out most of the official duties of the Sovereign, such as attending Privy Council meetings, signing routine documents and receiving credentials of new ambassadors to the UK.

The position of Counsellor of State was provided for in 1937 under the Regency Act. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were drafted and passed only in necessity - with nine separate Acts to cover various eventualities since 1728. 

Shortly after George VI became king in 1936, a new Regency Act was passed which provided a rule for all future reigns. It was then that the new Counsellor of State office was created to cover short-term absences. 

QUEEN'S PLATINUM JUBILEE MEDALS

In keeping with tradition, a Platinum Jubilee medal will be awarded to people who work in public service including representatives of the Armed Forces, the emergency services and the prison services.

The special commemorative medal will be awarded on February 6 to mark the Queen's 70 years on the throne.

Members of the Royal Family holding honorary military titles will be eligible - and the only veterans who receive the award will be those who already have a George Cross or Victoria Cross.

Now that Princes Harry and Andrew have lost their military titles, this means the duo will be treated like all other veterans and not receive the medal - which again would be very embarrassing for the duo.

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Prince Andrew and Prince Harry face a new double humiliation as royal officials are mulling ways to remove another of their significant roles, while also denying them Jubilee medals like other veterans. 

Buckingham Palace officials are now considering how to remove the role of Counsellors of State from the Duke of York and the Duke of Sussex - a potentially significant position that the pair still possess.

The duo, who are ninth and sixth in line to the throne respectively, have already been stripped of their royal patronages and military titles by the Queen - and both asked not to use the handle His Royal Highness.

Palace sources confirmed they are still two of the four Counsellors of State, who would be called upon to take the place of the Queen if she were unable to carry out her duties because of illness or absence abroad.

They would be authorised to carry out most of the official duties of the monarch, including signing important documents, attending Privy Council meetings and receiving the credentials of new ambassadors to the UK. The other two Counsellors of State are Prince Charles, who is heir to the throne, and William, who is second in line. 

A royal source said: 'It is a genuine problem that the Palace is looking to address. Can you imagine the Duke of York having to sign official documents, for example, because the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge were both abroad, and the Queen became ill? It's not an exaggeration to say it could put the monarchy in jeopardy.' 

A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment, but sources suggested that Andrew, 61, and Harry, 37, could not be stripped of their roles without an Act of Parliament having to be passed first.

By law, the counsellors of state are the monarch's spouse and the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21. If Andrew and Harry were removed they could be replaced by Princess Anne and Camilla. 

'There could be events later this year which make such a change necessary,' the source said in an apparent reference to the outcome of Andrew's court case in the US and the publication of Harry's forthcoming memoirs. 

The position of Counsellor of State was provided for in 1937 under the Regency Act. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were drafted and passed only in necessity - with nine separate Acts to cover various eventualities since 1728. 

Shortly after George VI came to the throne in 1936, a new Regency Act was passed which provided a rule for all future reigns. It was then that the new office of Counsellor of State was created to cover short-term absences. 

Both Andrew and Harry have been stripped of their royal patronages and military titles amid the former's ongoing court battle and the latter's decision to quit 'The Firm' and move to North America with his wife Meghan Markle. 

In a further blow to Andrew and Harry, they will also now both not be eligible for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee medal next month having lost their honorary military titles, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Prince Andrew and Prince Harry are pictured at Prince Philip's funeral at Windsor Castle on April 17 last year

The commemorative medal will be awarded on February 6 to mark the Queen's 70 years on the throne and given to serving members of the Armed Forces, police, fire, emergency and prison services.

Members of the Royal Family holding honorary military titles will also be eligible - and the only veterans who receive the award will be recipients of the George Cross or Victoria Cross.

Now that Harry and Andrew have lost their military titles, this means the duo will be treated like all other veterans and not receive the special medal. 

Last Thursday, the Queen removed Andrew's honorary military roles and he gave up his use of the HRH style. 

Andrew is thought to still be at his 31-room Royal Lodge home and allegedly hosted around a dozen family friends on Friday including Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank before a shoot at Windsor Great Park. 

Prince Harry is pictured wearing his medals while smiling with the Duke of York on the Buckingham Palace balcony in 2014

The Queen's move last week was a humiliation for Andrew and came one day after the lawsuit against him took a big step forward when a judge threw out his motion to dismiss the sexual assault case and ruled it can go to trial.

Andrew, who was born an HRH, will not use it any official capacity, and was also stripped of his remaining royal patronages in a decision which represented the Duke of York's complete removal from official royal life.

The dramatic move was also seen as an attempt to distance the monarchy from Andrew, who was once second in line to the throne as the spare to the heir, in the year of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. 

It comes as Andrew was accused of a 'tone-deaf' defence in his legal battle with Virginia Giuffre - who used to be known as Virginia Roberts - after his lawyers suggested she may have 'false memories' of her encounters with him.

Meanwhile an security expert said yesterday that Harry should learn from his aunt Princess Anne, who gets police security only when on royal duties, an expert said yesterday. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip ride in a carriage opposite Prince Andrew and Prince Harry at Royal Ascot in June 2016

The Duke of Sussex, who now carries out no royal engagements, has threatened legal action unless he gets Met Police security, which he would pay for, when he is back in the UK from California.

Yesterday ex-royal protection chief Dai Davies said Princess Anne 'doesn't get full time protection now and yet in 1974 she was nearly kidnapped – her protection officer was actually shot'.

The ex-chief superintendent added: 'Her security is now adapted according to risk. There just isn't a large pool of officers to pick and choose from.'

Of Harry and wife Meghan he said: 'They both have such egos that they expect the treatment. 

'The fact is, many senior royals are losing their protection. They're not going to take officers away from other royals or other duties to protect him.'

Princes Andrew and Harry also will not be eligible for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee medal, according to the Daily Telegraph

Royal insiders say there is no backing for the prince's demands at Buckingham Palace.

Harry is now seeking a judicial review of the decision to strip him of his UK police protection team, claiming it is 'too dangerous' to visit without Scotland Yard bodyguards.

Lawyers acting for Harry have written a 'pre-action protocol' letter to the Home Office, threatening to go to the High Court if his family are not provided with security while they are in Britain.

A government spokesman said the UK's security system was 'rigorous and proportionate' and that it was long-standing policy not to provide detailed information about such arrangements

It is also unprecedented for the judiciary to get involved in matters of royal protection, which are signed off by an independent committee and the Home Secretary. 

 

Prince Charles 'invites Harry and Meghan to stay with him in UK in the hope of meeting Lilibet for the first time', sources claim - but Sussexes' refusal to return without Met Police protection puts reunion in doubt

Prince Charles has invited Prince Harry and his family to stay with him in the UK in the hope of meeting Lilibet for the first time, it emerged tonight.

The Prince of Wales is yet to see his granddaughter face-to-face, after she was born in California in June last year.

The offer, which would be the first time the family have fully come together since Harry and Meghan decided to quit as working royals, was made just before Christmas, according to the Mirror.

However, his son's refusal to return without a substantial level of security from the Met Police is said to have put the reunion in doubt.

In recent months, the family have communicated via a series of 'good natured' calls, sources told the paper.

The first picture of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's daughter Lilibet was released in a Christmas card last month

The Prince of Wales (centre), during his visit to Haddo Country Park, Ellon, Aberdeenshire last week

One said: 'The Prince of Wales has been saddened that he hasn't had the opportunity to spend time with his grandchildren, which he really does miss.

What it really costs to guard Sussexes

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's security team in Canada was made up of at least six £60,000-a-year Scotland Yard protection officers.

But experts say the true cost of each officer would have been closer to £100,000 a year when taking into consideration overtime, flights back and forth to the UK, pension contributions and living expenses.

The couple spent more than three months in Canada before moving to California in March 2020 when they are reported to have hired top-of-the-range security firm Gavin de Becker and Associates (GDBA), used by A-listers including Jeff Bezos, Tom Hanks and Madonna.

The team from GDBA – described as a 'secret service for famous people' – is rumoured to cost about £7,000 per day, or £2.5million a year.

Harry and Meghan are likely to have been provided a team of six bodyguards, which could include former intelligence officers from the FBI and CIA, who work in rotation, with four on duty by day and two at night.

The couple's American security would have no jurisdiction in the UK or access to intelligence information.

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'He is a fantastic grandfather and loves playing the role immensely and it's certainly fair to say he feels there is something missing from his life without the ability to get to know Harry's children.

'This is something he is hoping to remedy which is why he made the gesture for Harry, Meghan and the children to stay with him if they wanted to, whenever they may come home for a period of time.' 

It comes as a former head of royal protection warned today that Prince Harry 'cannot pick and choose' when he wants to visit the UK and receive protection.

The Duke of Sussex should not be expecting bodyguards supplied to him when he decides to return home, Dai Davies said.

The ex-Met Police officer pointed out Princess Anne was nearly kidnapped and her protection officer was shot - but she does not get full time protection.

His comments came as sources suggested the Queen will not help her grandson in his demand for security personnel when he comes to Britain.

The insiders claimed the Monarch has no intentions of 'caving into his demands' for protection from the Met and Home Office.

Prince Harry faced outrage yesterday over his threat of legal action against Her Majesty's Government.

He is seeking a judicial review of the decision to strip him of his UK police protection team, claiming it is too dangerous to visit without Scotland Yard bodyguards.

Last night there was anger at the unprecedented legal threat against the government as sources hit back saying: 'Scotland Yard is not available for hire'.

Mr Davies, who was Operational Unit Commander for the Royals from 1995, told GMB: 'He chose to go to America, that's his prerogative.

'And it's our prerogative to ensure when we look at any aspect of protection, any member of the Royal Family that we actually look and assess it through various security agencies. That's the crux.

'And it's been decided in this level, one they won't supply him with protection because the risk at this stage is deemed low. However should there be a risk when he comes then clearly the Metropolitan Police would be duty bound.'

 

Prince Andrew's ex Lady Victoria Hervey says her 'very private' friend Ghislaine Maxwell was 'a victim' of Jeffrey Epstein - and is now 'scapegoat' for other people's crimes

Prince Andrew's ex girlfriend Lady Victoria Hervey has insisted 'very private' Ghislaine Maxwell was a 'victim' of Jeffrey Epstein

The socialite, 44, the daughter of the 6th Marquess of Bristol and the former love interest of the Duke of York, first met the pair 20 years ago but has previously said she has no clue what they had been secretly up to. 

She appeared on Lorraine earlier today where she said pair were 'a double act' but she 'sees the Ghislaine as a victim'.

Lady Victoria told the morning breakfast presenter: 'She is a scapegoat right now, so unfortunately for her, she is being taken down for what he has done as well. Some might argue is not quite as fair as it could be.'

Maxwell, 60, was convicted of facilitating the sexual abuse of minors by her former partner, Jeffrey Epstein, on December 29. She faces 65 years in prison, meaning she could spend the rest of her life behind bars. 

She was found guilty on five of six counts of sex trafficking - a spectacular downfall for the former London society girl who later moved into the highest circles of New York's social scene. 

Prince Andrew's ex girlfriend Lady Victoria Hervey, 44,  has insisted 'very private' Ghislaine Maxwell was a 'victim' of Jeffrey Epstein

Lady Victoria said: 'I mean to be honest I think Ghislaine was a victim and is a victim.

'She was a victim that then became the accomplice as her role changed in that relationship when they were no longer together.

'She kind of switched sides. I do see her as a victim as well.'

Lorraine went on to question the socialite over her own connections with the pair, saying: 'Why do you think, if you were just an ordinary girl with no connections, do you think she specifically wanted you in that place?'

Victoria said: 'At the time I was the IT girl of London, on the social scene, everyone knew me, I was at every dinner event. 

The daughter of the 6th Marquess of Bristol and the former love interest of the Duke of York, first met the pair 20 years ago but has previously said she has no clue what they had been secretly up to (pictured together in 2004) 

'It was a plus having me on her list of who to invite. It probably kept it more interesting for all the men she was entertaining. 

'Obviously you want to have attractive girls who are the hot girls in London at the time.'

She added that Jeffrey and Ghislaine were 'definitely a double act', saying: 'It wouldn't have worked with him on his own. 

'It was a lot easier for her to approach other women being a female. 

Lady Victoria told the morning breakfast presenter that she feels Ghislaine is 'a scapegoat' and is 'being taken down' for Epstein's crimes

'Girls would feel less intimated and less scared, rather than a man. It would have been a lot less obvious in that respect.'

Lady Victoria confessed she felt 'used' by the duo, but added she 'had fun at the time.'

She said: 'I was so naiive. People in my situation that were really young, of course we were going to get taken advantage of. 

'We were just a pretty face to have entertain people. I was one of the lucky ones and I'm aware of that.'

Lady Victoria confessed she felt 'used' by Ghislaine and Epstein, but added she 'had fun at the time'  (pictured in 2002 with Prince Andrew) 

She said she had no idea that anything was amiss during parties with the group, saying: 'Besides the situation of having a feeling there were video cameras in the apartment, it was social gatherings and dinner parties. It all seemed very fun at the time.'

'This is in the early 2000s when no one had any idea of what people found out later on but the early 2000s, people wanted Ghislaine and Jeffrey at all their events. They were invited there everywhere. 

Meanwhile Lady Victoria said she 'had followed some of the trial' but was 'a bit disappointed'.

She explained the public 'hadn't learned anything new' and because the trial wasn't televised she felt 'a detachment from it.'

Ghislaine Maxwell could spend the rest of her life behind bars after a jury convicted her of recruiting and grooming young girls to be sexually abused by the late American financier and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein last month 

She said: 'She hasn't really named any new names yet. I'm hoping...that she will start giving out names. I don't think we're quite there yet.'

Meanwhile on her dinner with Ghislaine, Jeffrey, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, she pondered: 'Is it to make them feel important? I suppose so and I think it was business being conducted at the same time through these introductions of powerful different people together.

'So I don't know exactly what business deals did happen at those dinners, but for sure, you know, things obviously did.

Lady Victoria continued: 'She is unfortunately a scapegoat right now, because there's no one else to blame.

'So unfortunately for her she is being taken down for what he's done as well, which some might argue is not quite as fair as it could be but that is the situation she is in right now.'

However, Lorraine argued that the victims consider Ghislaine just as guilty as Jeffrey.

On the infamous picture of Prince Andrew and Virgina Giuffre, Lady Victoria offered: 'That was stupid.'

And asked if Ghislaine ever spoke to her about her friendship with Prince Andrew, Lady Victoria admitted: 'No. I mean, she was really quite private about a lot, but obviously they were good friends. You can just tell by the body language when you see people, when they're good friends.

'I don't know what's going to happen now in terms of the sentencing, how many years they're going to give her.'

Disgraced socialite Ghislaine is set to be sentenced on sex trafficking crimes on June 28.

The sentencing date was set by Judge Alison Nathan on Friday afternoon.

The delayed sentencing was based on the defense attorneys' decision due to recent  'compelling' evidence they say could overturn the trial, as well as Maxwell's conviction. 

Maxwell was found guilty on five of six counts of sex trafficking - a spectacular downfall for the former London society girl who later moved into the highest circles of New York's social scene. Pictured: Maxwell with Epstein

 Maxwell's lawyers last week demanded a new trial after a juror revealed he had helped convict the former socialite by telling fellow jury members about his experience of sexual abuse.

She was found guilty of sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and three counts of conspiracy. She was found not guilty of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.   

Maxwell was convicted after a month-long trial in which prosecutors maintained that she recruited and groomed teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to 2004. 

Maxwell once had a romantic relationship with Epstein, but later became his employee at his five residences, including a Manhattan mansion and a large estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Maxwell, who is said to have been Epstein's madam as well as his one-time girlfriend, is seen posing with the pedophile in evidence photos shown in court

Epstein took his own life at a Manhattan federal jail in August 2019 as he awaited a trial on sex trafficking charges.

Maxwell's lawyers argued at trial that she was made into a scapegoat by federal prosecutors after his death. 

Meanwhile, Prince Andrew is under severe pressure to settle with Virginia Roberts Giuffre after a New York judge refused to throw out her case - paving the way for a box office trial in nine months to examine claims she was repeatedly forced to have sex with him when she was a teenager. 

Prince Andrew is seen with his arm around Virginia Roberts while Ghislaine Maxwell stands in the background, in a now infamous photo from early 2001 

The decision is a devastating blow to the Duke of York, who now faces a hugely expensive and reputation-shredding court case next September unless he tries to pay off Giuffre with at least $5 million. 

If he chooses not to settle, or if Giuffre rejects any offers, Andrew faces being interviewed by her lawyers in a videotaped deposition in London that could be played in court, although the ninth in line to the throne cannot be forced to give evidence due to it being a civil suit in a different legal jurisdiction. 

Additionally, he could simply ignore the case and let the court give a decision in his absence, although this would be likely to damage his reputation further.      

 

Meghan's mouthpiece Omid Scobie puts the boot in over Prince Andrew: Journalist compares how Duke of York kept his titles until the Queen's 'hand was finally forced'... with how Prince Harry was 'stripped of privilege' after Megxit

Meghan Markle's trusted journalist friend Omid Scobie today claimed the 'ring of protection' around Prince Andrew from the Royal Family had been 'confusing'.

Mr Scobie said the 'threat to Brand Windsor and the family business' had 'finally forced the institution's hand' after the Queen removed his honorary military roles.

The Harper's Bazaar royal editor-at-large also compared the issue to Megxit, saying there was 'no sympathetic support behind palace walls for the Duke of Sussex'.

Mr Scobie added that Prince Harry 'simply wanted to remove his family from an unhealthy environment' but was 'publicly dragged over the coals and stripped of his every achievement and royal privilege before setting one foot out of the country'.

The author also pointed out in the opinion piece that it was 'a staggering 26 months before Andrew was dealt with' after his disastrous BBC interview in November 2019.

Mr Scobie said he met a senior Buckingham Palace aide for drinks soon after the interview, who told him: 'Well, he's on his own now. He's not our problem anymore.' 

Harry and Meghan at Westminster Abbey in March 2020 before stepping down as senior royals

The author, who co-wrote the 2020 biography Finding Freedom about the Sussexes, regularly reveals news about them on Twitter and often writes in their defence. 

Given this, it seems unlikely that Mr Scobie would have written such an article without speaking in advance to representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

And he wrote in an opinion piece for the i today: 'For the public watching this saga play out, the ring of protection around Andrew has been confusing, especially when you compare his treatment to Prince Harry, who – love or loathe him – simply wanted to remove his family from an unhealthy environment.

'There was no sympathetic support behind palace walls for the Duke of Sussex. Instead, he was publicly dragged over the coals and stripped of his every achievement and royal privilege before setting one foot out of the country.

Meghan Markle's trusted journalist friend Omid Scobie wrote an opinion piece for the i today

'The royal establishment has long spoken of its need to reflect modern day ethics. But when the selfish behaviour of a pompous prince is quietly protected in a way that Harry wasn't, simply because Andrew doesn't challenge the system, it is clear that this is an institution whose moral compass is in desperate need of repair.'

Mr Scobie was born to a Scottish father who runs a marketing agency and an Iranian mother who works in child welfare. He started his career on celebrity magazine Heat.

He rose to fame as one of the authors of Finding Freedom, a controversial biography about the Sussexes which he co-wrote with fellow royal expert Carolyn Durand.

The Court of Appeal heard last year that Jason Knauf, Harry and Meghan's former communications secretary, gave information to Mr Scobie and Ms Durand – leading to Meghan apologising for misleading the court about whether he had done so.

Prince Andrew next to Harry and Meghan on the Buckingham Palace balcony in June 2019. Also pictured (front) are the Queen (left), James, Viscount Severn and Isla Philips (both right)

It came during a court row that ended with the Mail On Sunday being ruled to have invaded Meghan's privacy over a letter sent to her estranged father Thomas Markle.

Mr Scobie, who has boasted of exclusive access to the couple, is also a royal contributor for Good Morning America and host of ABC royal podcast 'The Heir Pod'. 

It comes after the Queen removed Andrew's honorary military roles in a dramatic Buckingham Palace statement last Thursday and he gave up his use of the HRH style.

One day earlier the sex lawsuit against him took a big step forward when a judge threw out his motion to dismiss the sexual assault case and ruled it can go to trial.

Andrew, who was born an HRH, will not use it any official capacity, and was stripped of his remaining royal patronages amid his complete removal from official royal life.

It was also seen as an attempt to distance the monarchy from Andrew, who was once second in line to the throne, in the year of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

He has been accused of a 'tone-deaf' defence in his legal battle with Virginia Giuffre after his lawyers suggested she may have 'false memories' of encounters with him. 

In a scathing response to his demand for her mental health records, her lawyer David Boies said: 'She wouldn't misremember sexual abuse by a prince of England.'

Virginia Giuffre holds a photo of her aged 16, when she says Jeffrey Epstein began abusing her

The claim about memory issues was made by Andrew in legal filings over the weekend in the case brought against him by Ms Giuffre at a court in New York.

She claims she had sex with Andrew three times when she was 17 in 2001 while under the control of Jeffrey Epstein, the late paedophile who was friends with the duke. Andrew has vehemently denied her allegations.

His lawyers have asked to interview Ms Giuffre's psychologist about all their sessions, any prescriptions that were issued and the 'theory of false memories'.

Ghislaine Maxwell used a 'false memory expert' during her trial for trafficking and recruiting underage girls for Epstein, but was found guilty on five of six counts. 

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Palace officials mull ways of axing Andrew and Harry as two of the four Counsellors of State

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