Buckingham Palace criticised for wishing Prince Andrew a happy birthday

Duke of York, who turns 60, recently stepped back from public duties

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 19 February 2020 11:22
Duke of York to step back from public duties over Epstein links

Buckingham Palace has shared a birthday message for the Duke of York on social media, despite the royal stepping back from public duties.

In a statement posted by the royal family on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, the Palace states: “On this day in 1960, Prince Andrew was born at Buckingham Palace, the first child born to a reigning monarch for 103 years.

“Happy Birthday to the Duke of York.”

The post also includes two pictures of the duke, one of which was taken when he was a baby and the second during his later years.

While some social media users commented on the post with happy birthday messages, others expressed their staunch opposition, due to the ongoing controversy concerning Prince Andrew’s friendship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

“The royal family should have just given him wishes in private, even a private party, if the Queen wants because it’s her son. But, private,” one person tweeted.

“This was not a wise choice given ALL the issues.”

“Hmmmm. I am not sure this message is appropriate considering what he has been a part of,” someone else commented on Instagram.

Later today, the bells of Westminster Abbey will ring out to celebrate the Duke of York’s birthday.

Councils will not be required to mark the date, after the policy of flying Union flags on royal birthdays was re-examined.

After campaigners branded the policy as “crass and offensive”, the government announced that councils would no longer be required to fly flags on 19 February “following the decision by the Duke of York to step back from public duties for the foreseeable future”.

In November, it was announced that Prince Andrew had been granted permission by the Queen to step back from public duties.

In his statement, which was issued by Buckingham Palace, he stated: “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.

“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.

“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” the duke added.

“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”

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