The Bug‘s special Royal Correspondent has filed a review of the key events for our gracious and esteemed Monarch and her family over the past 12 months (See: The Royal Year: one big car crash). But the year ends, as usual, with the Royal Family enjoying a break at Her Majesty the Queen’s estate at Sandringham where her carefully crafted plan to restore the reputation of Prince Andrew is in full swing.
The Royal Family’s “bad boy” of 2019 has been taking a very low profile during the festive season following his disastrous interview with BBC TV in November.
My Buckingham Palace sources have told me that Her Majesty the Queen has insisted that her second son stays out of the limelight as much as possible.
“This is all part of the strategy devised personally by Her Majesty — and agreed to by other members of the Royal Family — for the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, to begin rehabilitating himself in the public eye,” my source said.
“The plan began immediately following the BBC interview when Her Majesty satisfied herself that the Duke was innocent of the charges being levelled against him by his accusers.”
My source told me that the Queen was forensic in her scrutiny of the allegations.
“Her Majesty called in Prince Andrew immediately after the interview aired,” my source informed me.
“She asked him directly: ‘Have you ever had sex with a minor?’
“The Prince confidently replied: ‘Mama, how could one even think that? One’s a leading member of the Royal Family. One has always remembered one’s station in life. One would never have sex with a miner.’
“That seemed to satisfy Her Majesty and so she began rolling out her plan to rebuild his image, with events over the Christmas and New Year break playing a large part.
“For example, the Queen and other senior royals who stay at the royal estate at Sandringham over the Christmas break have all been attending regular local church services.
“But Her Majesty ordered Prince Andrew to attend separately (pictured) so that he did not become a distraction by attending services with other royals.
“She has also advised him to keep a low profile and not to draw attention to himself during the traditional shooting weekend that the Royal Family and their guests enjoy at this time of year (main picture).
“Her Majesty was keen for her family and guests to enjoy ‘an ordinary shooting weekend’ as the Prince put it in his BBC interview, and that’s what they got,” my source said.