Prince Charles set for angry showdown with Prince Andrew over ongoing Epstein scandal
T he Prince of Wales will this week demand what is likely to be a heated showdown with his younger brother, over the continued fallout from the disastrous Newsnight interview.
The Prince, who returns from a 12-day tour to India, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands on Tuesday ), is expected to order the Duke of York to Clarence House to discuss the ongoing furore.
Sources have claimed the Prince of Wales is furious that his important visit to the South Pacific - which had been intended to highlight a number of environmental issues such as climate change and rising ocean levels - has been completely overshadowed by the row over the Duke's relationship with the paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein.
So far the Prince of Wales has not commented on the issue and his staff have remained tight lipped throughout the tour.
But it is understood the Prince is determined to get a grip on the situation once he is back in Britain and ensure there is no further collateral damage to the Royal Family, even if that means removing his brother from the inner circle.
T he Duke has already announced his intention to step back from public duties for the foreseeable future.
B ut with the American investigation into Epstein’s associates gathering pace, and calls for the Duke to be interviewed by the FBI growing, the scandal shows no sign of abating.
There is likely to be further pressure next week when the BBC broadcasts a fresh interview with the Duke’s accuser, Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, who claims she was coerced into having sex with him after being flown to the UK by Epstein in 2001. The Duke has vehemently denied her claims.
T he Queen, who has been largely supportive of the Duke and was pictured riding with him on Friday at Windsor, is understood to have cancelled a party she was planning to host in February to mark his 60th birthday.
The Prince of Wales is also said to be extremely concerned at the impact the row is having on the reputation of the monarchy amongst the public.
Last week Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, drew applause during a televised debate when he said he suggested the monarchy "needed a bit of improvement".
The Prince of Wales is said to have regarded the Duke's decision to give the television interview with "incredulity and alarm” and considered it “misguided”.
The Prince and the Duke, who were born 12-years apart, are not said to be close and have led largely independent lives.
I t is understood they largely communicate through their households and private secretaries, rather than speaking directly to one another.
H owever, the Prince is also said to be sympathetic towards his younger siblings, who were not entitled to the various trappings afforded the heir to the throne.
At one point the Prince offered the Duke a role as an aide, but the offer was rejected.
The relationship was also put under strain in 2012 when the Prince made his future vision of a slimmed down monarchy clear by excluding wider family members from a Buckingham Palace balcony appearance during Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The Queen duly appeared before the cheering crowds on the Mall, accompanied only by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Prince Andrew was said to be “furious” about being pushed to the margins of royal life by his brother, who he thought had acted with ruthless efficiency.
Similarly, the Duke had always pushed for his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, to have key working roles and was notably fond of pointing out that they were the only two “blood princesses” of a generation.
But he was dismayed when they too were marginalised and stripped of their 24-hour royal protection in a row over the £500,000 annual cost.