King Charles is facing mounting pressure to finally address what some royal watchers have called his “Andrew problem.”
Prince Andrew, the disgraced Duke of York, was named in previously secret court documents related to Jeffrey Epstein that were unsealed in the new year.
Epstein, an American financier and convicted sex offender, was found dead behind bars in 2019 at age 66. The U.S. attorney in Manhattan prosecuted Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, 62, for helping recruit his underage victims. She was convicted in 2021 and is serving a 20-year prison term.
“It’s interesting that these new revelations came on the heels of Christmas at Sandringham, where both Andrew and, for the first time in decades, [his ex-wife] Sarah Ferguson, did the customary church walkabout with the rest of the royal family,” Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital.
“I understand that Queen Camilla is quite fond of Fergie, and has been urging King Charles to soften up a bit in his attitude toward Andrew,” Andersen alleged. “Now, however, Charles is furious that all this sleaze is being dredged up again. At this point, it doesn’t look good for Andrew, and I think it’s almost certain he will be forced to give up his lavish digs at Royal Lodge.”
“I’m sure Prince William, in particular, would like to see Andrew out of the picture altogether,” Andersen added.
Epstein accuser Johanna Sjoberg’s unsealed deposition includes allegations that the royal groped her while she was sitting on his lap with a Prince Andrew puppet from the satirical BBC TV series “Spitting Image.”
In statements that were later retracted, Epstein accuser Sarah Ransome claimed former President Clinton, Richard Branson, as well as the British prince were all filmed having sex with her friend by Epstein himself. Epstein’s former attorney, the law professor Alan Dershowitz, argued that her words were “false and defamatory.”
Buckingham Palace, as well as Andrew’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. The Metropolitan Police announced in a statement that they’re aware of the documents, but “no investigation has been launched” on the 63-year-old, the U.K.’s Independent reported.
Andrew has retained his title as the Duke of York. He also maintains his place in the line of succession to the British throne, which is eighth behind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s two children. However, he cannot use the title of HRH or “His Royal Highness” in any capacity.
The royal blog Gert’s Royals reported that the king alone doesn’t have the power to remove royal titles.
“Parliament can remove titles,” the outlet explained on X. “But they will find it difficult in this case. The legislative branch (Parliament) or executive branch (Honors Forfeiture Committee) don’t have the powers to decide if someone is guilty of a crime. It is the judicial branch (Courts)’s job to determine if someone is guilty. And then other branches can act on that decision. And since there have never been any charges or convictions against Prince Andrew, in the eyes of the U.K. government, he is innocent.”
Kinsey Schofield, host of the “To Di For Daily” podcast, told Fox News Digital that she doesn’t believe Charles, 75, would quietly encourage Parliament to remove his younger brother’s royal title.
“It opens the door for [Parliament] to do the same to Prince Harry,” she said about the king’s younger son, who made his royal exit in 2020.
“I think we could see a move to Frogmore Cottage for Andrew instead,” said Schofield. “Andrew is simply not in a position to financially manage the renovation costs of Royal Lodge… without the help of the king…. This story is not going away… [and] public outrage will intensify. He’s going to need to go back to hiding from the public for a significant amount of time.”
“Charles’ advisers are making it abundantly clear to the king that Andrew’s unpopularity with the British people – a majority of them want Andrew stripped of his titles entirely – is a drag on the monarchy at a time when the new monarch can least afford it,” Andersen said.
And the king will need to act quickly, royal experts warned. A petition calling for Andrew to be stripped of his Earl of Inverness title has received hundreds of new signatures since the court documents were released. Over 11,000 have signed the petition since it was launched in April of last year.
The council in the northern city of York previously voted unanimously to withdraw the prince’s “freedom of the city.” The honor was awarded to Andrew in 1987 after the queen made him the Duke of York. He is the first person to be stripped of the status, an honor that dates back to medieval times. Local leaders have since argued that Andrew should also lose the title of Duke of York. A spokesperson for Andrew declined to comment at the time.
“There is a growing feeling [here], especially among young people, that Andrew has led a parasitic decline in the royal family and the country,” royal expert Ian Pelham Turner told Fox News Digital.
“The king finds himself in a tough spot as he promised their mother, the late queen, on her deathbed, to support his sibling,” Pelham Turner alleged. It is believed that Andrew was the queen’s favorite son.
But now the king must listen to the people, he stressed.
“Andrew is showing defiance by… not moving anywhere at a time in the U.K. where many people are without suitable housing,” Pelham Turner explained. “He is still living a lavish lifestyle. My feeling is Charles should cut the majority of his financial support to Andrew and remove him from his current mansion… [But] I think Charles is weak at making a decision.”
“The decision the king makes could determine in 20 odd years whether the U.K. wants a royal family,” he added.
Andrew stepped back from royal duties in 2019 amid his controversial connection to Epstein. He was also stripped of his honorary military titles. Before her death in 2022, the queen also removed his honorary leadership of various charities, known as royal patronages.
In a lawsuit filed in 2020, Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre accused Andrew of sexually exploiting her on three occasions in 2001 when she was 17. Though Andrew has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, he agreed to an out-of-court settlement paid to the American woman in February 2022. The prince made a substantial donation to his accuser’s charity and declared he never meant to malign her character.
The settlement amount was reported to be anywhere between $3.6 million to $14.8 million.
The documents being unsealed are part of a 2015 lawsuit filed against Maxwell by Giuffre. The 40-year-old is one of the dozens of women who sued Epstein saying he had abused them at his homes in Florida, New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands and New Mexico.
In 2022, Giuffre withdrew an accusation she had made against Dershowitz, saying she “may have made a mistake” in identifying him as an abuser.
The records – including transcripts of interviews with some of Epstein’s victims and old police reports – contained reminders that the millionaire surrounded himself with famous and powerful figures, including a few who have also been accused of misconduct.