Prince Andrew will keep his publicly-funded bodyguards after a review by the same U.K. government committee at the center of Prince Harry’s ongoing security lawsuits, according to recent reports.
Despite having to step down from all public facing royal roles including his military patronages in the wake of a sexual assault lawsuit lodged by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre in 2021, Andrew will still receive taxpayer-funded protection at an estimated cost of between £500,000 to £3 million per annum, Britain’s The Daily Telegraph reports.
The prince, it was announced earlier this year, would give up his military honors and cease using his HRH (His Royal Highness) title as he settled the lawsuit with Giuffre for an estimated sum in excess of $10 million.
Andrew has always denied any accusations made against him.
Following his effective retirement from public life, having no official duties to fulfill on behalf of the monarchy, Andrew’s security status was reviewed earlier this year by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC), on behalf of the Home Office—an interior ministry of the U.K. government.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the committee “assessed the security threat but concluded that he was still entitled to police bodyguards” whenever he leaves his Windsor Great Park residence.
It’s safe to say that this protection is on par with that given to other prominent royals.
The RAVEC committee’s input into this decision comes amid Prince Harry’s two pending lawsuits against the U.K. government over its determination that he should receive less police protection when visiting Britain following his 2020 retirement from full-time royal duties.
Harry’s legal team argued that the new security arrangement has made him feel unsafe about taking his family to the United Kingdom.
The government supported the RAVEC committee’s decision that since he is no longer a working royal, the prince does not meet the requirements needed to maintain his pre-royal retirement level of protection at a cost to the taxpayer.
In July a judge ruled that Harry had an “arguable” case to bring against the government in court over how the RAVEC committee came to their decision, stating that the prince’s legal team could present the argument that he should have been allowed to make representations to the committee before they came to a decision and that he should have been able to comment on information they considered.
On August 2, the prince filed his second lawsuit, this time challenging the ruling that private citizens cannot pay for police protection on their own (an offer Harry allegedly made and was turned down for).
Concerns have been voiced about Andrew’s desire to return to the public eye following the settlement of the Giuffre lawsuit, and the RAVEC decision comes at a time when such rumors are circulating.
In March, the royal made his first public appearance since settling the lawsuit when he attended the service of thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip in an unexpected central role on the arm of the queen. That the queen was showing her son such loyalty was widely interpreted. Both the queen and Andrew were widely criticized following the service.
An attempted comeback was made in June where, after missing the public celebrations for the queen’s Platinum Jubilee due to a bout of COVID, Andrew was said to intend to take part in the annual Garter Day ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Although Andrew no longer has any military rank, he is still a member of the Order of the Garter, the highest chivalric order in England and the sole gift of the queen.
YouGov polled attitudes toward the royal family in May, and the results showed that Andrew was the least popular member, with 88% of respondents having a negative opinion of him.
Newsweek approached Buckingham Palace and representatives for Prince Andrew for comment.
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