Royal courtiers are considering blocking Prince Andrew from appearing in church this year on Christmas Day due to the likelihood of protests at the event, The Sun newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a source.
“There are discussions about Christmas day and a desire from many courtiers for Prince Andrew to stay away from the church, where he would be pictured with the rest of the family. There are now genuine concerns over sex abuse campaigners planning to be part of the crowds to jeer the Duke publicly,” the source reportedly revealed.
The source also purportedly said that the protests would not become violent, as they are likely aimed to cause “further embarrassment” to the royal family over the close association previously enjoyed between the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
“They know the world’s media would be there and it would end up dominating headlines of the day,” the source is reported to have said.
Although the concerns are thought to be reasonable, some fear that Prince Andrew may insist on attending, as he is a full-right member of the family.
“The Queen is already deeply upset about this situation because she loves her son very much. It is hard to believe she would ever be able to bring herself to tell Andrew not to come, given they attend church together all the time,” the source is said to have added.
The source is also claimed to have said that they hope the Duke of York will realise the consequences of being the subject of a public protest on Christmas day and choose on his own to “stay away”.
In November, the 59-year-old Prince Andrew announced that he would drop out of the public eye for the "foreseeable future" following a BBC Newsnight interview which highlighted his close friendship with convicted American paedophile Epstein, who is claimed to have taken his own life in a New York prison while awaiting trial on charges of running a sex-trafficking network.