Prince Andrew’s uncertain future within King Charles’s ‘slimmed down’ monarchy is back in the spotlight with the news that Harry and Meghan are due to be evicted from their UK home of Frogmore Cottage.
Charles has told the Sussexes they must be out of the property by early summer and has reportedly offered the cottage to Prince Andrew, who it is understood has been told by the King to downsize from his Grade II-listed Royal Lodge residence nearby.
Andrew is believed to be reluctant to leave and, as the King seemingly flexes his muscles, one royal expert has said the news highlights the stark difference in financial arrangements between the Sussexes and the Duke of York.
"The Sussexes have shown that they can look after themselves, financially at least, but Andrew can't", Nigel Cawthorne, the author of Prince Andrew, Maxwell, Epstein and the Palace, and multiple other royal books covering subjects such as Harry and Prince Philip, told Yahoo UK.
Since stepping back as working royals in 2020 and working “to become financially independent”, Meghan and Harry have reportedly signed multi-million dollar deals with streaming giants Spotify and Netflix and a multi-book deal with Penguin Random House.
Harry’s memoir, Spare, has spent weeks atop bestseller lists, which shows that being the Duke of Sussex can be a lucrative business – and has allowed the couple to pay for security in the US.
Cawthorne also said that one likely consideration for Charles is that it is better to keep the unpopular Andrew close by and out of the public eye. He added: "As Lyndon Johnson said of J. Edgar Hoover: "It's better to have him inside the tent p***ing out, than outside the tent p***ing in.'"
The Duke of York stepped down from royal duties in 2019, following his disastrous Newsnight interview, during which he attempted to address the allegations levied against him by Virginia Giuffre.
Giuffre has alleged that Andrew raped her three times when she was a teenager – Andrew has vehemently and consistently denied these claims.
So there might be a reluctance on the part of the Royal Family to let Andrew leave the fold entirely, something Cawthorne notes does not apply to Harry and Meghan.
In his Yahoo column this week, Omid Scobie – Yahoo UK's executive royal editor – pointed out that despite the rent on Royal Lodge being a pretty meagre £250 per week, the upkeep of the 30-room mansion is a far more significant at around £400,000 per year.
Andrew’s allowance from the Duchy of Lancaster – £249,000 per year – is coming to an end this April, and so that might be one reason the new King is eager to move his brother into a cheaper property: the five-bedroom Frogmore Cottage.
Andrew is also reported to be considering plans to attempt a return to public life, while – as Scobie has previously reported for Yahoo – one friend of the prince has recently said he has been exploring legal options to clear his name in relation to the allegations made by Giuffre.
"Andrew would be no threat to the monarchy at all if he would just keep his mouth shut and give up this idiotic idea of challenging the ruling in the Giuffre case", Cawthorne said.
Watch: Prince Andrew's moments fleeting in The Crown - likely so we don't feel too sorry for him