Prince Andrew has asked to defer a military promotion to Admiral after stepping down from public duties in the wake of the scandal over his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
The Duke of York was due to be promoted on his 60th birthday later this month, but a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said he had requested to forego the planned promotion until he can resume royal duties.
The Duke stepped down from public duties last year over his relationship with convicted sex offender Epstein, who killed himself in prison in 2019.
The scandal saw charities move to distance themselves from the royal as a series of allegations emerged concerning Andrew and his friendship with Epstein.
“By convention, the Duke of York would be in line for military promotion on his 60th birthday,” the Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.
“Following the decision by His Royal Highness to step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, the Duke of York has asked the Ministry of Defence if this promotion might be deferred until such time that His Royal Highness returns to public duty.”
The decision comes after the Government announced that councils are no longer required to fly flags to mark the Duke’s birthday on February 19.
Downing Street said the matter was being looked into after critics branded the celebration “crass and offensive”.
A Government spokesman said: “The Department of Culture, Media and Sport will be advising councils that there is no requirement to fly flags on February 19 following the decision by the Duke of York to step back from public duties for the foreseeable future.”
The decision will also apply to other government buildings.
A spokesperson for the abbey said: “Westminster Abbey is a Royal Peculiar and the bells are rung for the birthdays of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh; their children; and TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.
“There are no plans to change these arrangements.”
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