PIERS MORGAN: The Queen stripped Diana of the HRH title when she and Charles divorced - so why the hell do we still have to call the shamed pedophile-buddy Prince Andrew ‘His Royal Highness’?

‘Can a royal be fired?’ an American friend asked me yesterday morning as the Prince Andrew scandal roared across the pond.

‘Not really,’ I replied.

It turns out I was wrong: they can.

Last night, Andrew was sensationally dismissed from public life by his own mother, the Queen.

It marked a stunning fall from grace for the Prince, and an astoundingly heart-breaking moment for the beloved British Monarch.

Andrew is reportedly Her Majesty’s favorite son.

Last night, Andrew was sensationally dismissed from public life by his own mother, the Queen. Prince Andrew is pictured leaving his home after receiving the news from the British Monarch

Last night, Andrew was sensationally dismissed from public life by his own mother, the Queen. Prince Andrew is pictured leaving his home after receiving the news from the British Monarch 

It marked a stunning fall from grace for the Prince, and an astoundingly heart-breaking moment for the beloved British Monarch. Andrew is reportedly Her Majesty¿s favorite son. They are pictured together at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2017

It marked a stunning fall from grace for the Prince, and an astoundingly heart-breaking moment for the beloved British Monarch. Andrew is reportedly Her Majesty’s favorite son. They are pictured together at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2017

For her to be forced into culling him like this is virtually unprecedented in modern royal history.

The only comparable moment was nearly a century ago when King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 because he chose to put love before duty and marry US divorcee Wallis Simpson.

But that was over an affair of the heart.

Andrew’s demise is connected to something far more serious – the ongoing FBI criminal investigation into notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in prison several months ago.

And make no mistake, this dramatic intervention by the Queen is by no means the end of this matter.

There is now the very real possibility that Andrew will be interviewed under oath by the FBI about what he knew and witnessed of Epstein’s long-time sexual abuse of myriad under-age girls.

And if that interview goes anything like as badly as his catastrophic TV interview with the BBC last Saturday, then who the hell knows how this will all end up for him?

Andrew¿s demise is connected to something far more serious ¿ the ongoing FBI criminal investigation into notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in prison several months ago. Prince Andrew and Epstein are pictured taking a stroll together through Central Park in 2011

Andrew’s demise is connected to something far more serious – the ongoing FBI criminal investigation into notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in prison several months ago. Prince Andrew and Epstein are pictured taking a stroll together through Central Park in 2011

We’re into completely uncharted waters for a senior member of the royal family to be embroiled in such a massive criminal case, and it is impossible to predict what will happen next.

But in the meantime, Andrew’s been made to give up his royal duties with immediate effect and the Queen has severed his annual payment from the public purse.

It’s an abject humiliation, of course, especially for an arrogant piece of work who has swanned through life loving his lavish taxpayer-funded existence as a playboy prince.

Yet many with long memories, like me, will wonder why he’s still being allowed to call himself His Royal Highness?

In 1995, Princess Diana also submitted herself to a devastating interview with the BBC in which she confirmed her adultery with James Hewitt and made a series of shocking claims about the royals and in particular, her husband Prince Charles.

Retribution came fast and furiously.

The Queen, enraged by what she saw as a complete betrayal of the normal standards of discretion by the royal family, wrote to Diana three weeks later insisting she and Charles divorce.

In 1995, Princess Diana also submitted herself to a devastating interview with the BBC (pictured) in which she confirmed her adultery with James Hewitt and made a series of shocking claims about the royals and in particular, her husband Prince Charles

In 1995, Princess Diana also submitted herself to a devastating interview with the BBC (pictured) in which she confirmed her adultery with James Hewitt and made a series of shocking claims about the royals and in particular, her husband Prince Charles 

Charles, appalled by his wife¿s behaviour, went one step further and demanded she also be stripped of Her Royal Highness title and known after the divorce as Diana, Princess of Wales. They are pictured during happier days, carrying an infant Prince William, at the start of their tour of Australia in 1983

Charles, appalled by his wife’s behaviour, went one step further and demanded she also be stripped of Her Royal Highness title and known after the divorce as Diana, Princess of Wales. They are pictured during happier days, carrying an infant Prince William, at the start of their tour of Australia in 1983

But Charles, appalled by his wife’s behaviour, went one step further and demanded she also be stripped of Her Royal Highness title and known after the divorce as Diana, Princess of Wales.

Diana was devastated by the move, and desperate to hold onto the HRH which confers many privileges including free travel, staff, security, palace quarters, and the requirement for people to bow or curtsy in her presence.

Without it, she would now have to curtsy to her husband, her two sons and a whole host of minor royals. She would also lose any formal connection to the royal family including any future claim to the British throne.

Diana was so upset by losing the HRH that Prince William, then just 14 years old and heir to the throne after his father Charles, reportedly told her: ‘Don’t worry Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am King.’

He was never to get the chance.

The brutal removal of the HRH meant Diana also lost the Royal protection that went with it, which arguably might have prevented her dying in a Paris car crash two years later.

So, it’s actually a very big deal.

And that brings me back to Prince Andrew.

Why should he continue to have the title His Royal Highness if he is no longer deemed fit for public duty?

There was a shuddering illustration of how ridiculous this is right at the end of his BBC debacle when interviewer Emily Maitlis stared at him stone-faced and said simply: ¿Thank you... Your Royal Highness'. Pictured is the now infamous BBC interview

There was a shuddering illustration of how ridiculous this is right at the end of his BBC debacle when interviewer Emily Maitlis stared at him stone-faced and said simply: ‘Thank you... Your Royal Highness'. Pictured is the now infamous BBC interview 

If his association with a convicted pedophile is considered so heinous that his own mother has had to fire him, then why the hell should anyone now be expected to bestow ANY regal civilities towards him?

There was a shuddering illustration of how ridiculous this is right at the end of his BBC debacle when interviewer Emily Maitlis stared at him stone-faced and said simply: ‘Thank you... Your Royal Highness.’

The jarring juxtaposition of this obsequious entreaty, coming after an excruciating hour of Andrew lying through his smarmy pompous back teeth about his friendship with a vile pedophile, was horrible.

Though it will hurt her even more to do this, the Queen should announce he is being stripped of the HRH title, or she will send a message to the world that getting divorced from her sons is a worse offence than cozying up to a man convicted of procuring a 14-year-old girl for prostitution. The Queen is pictured leaving Chatham House, London, yesterday

Though it will hurt her even more to do this, the Queen should announce he is being stripped of the HRH title, or she will send a message to the world that getting divorced from her sons is a worse offence than cozying up to a man convicted of procuring a 14-year-old girl for prostitution. The Queen is pictured leaving Chatham House, London, yesterday 

Yet Maitlis had no choice, for that is what she was obliged to call him, as a journalist working for Britain’s public broadcaster, so long as he remains HRH.

It was royal protocol.

But at what point does a royal’s conduct become so ‘unbecoming’ to use Andrew’s own hideously clumsy phrase to describe Epstein’s predatory abuse of young girls, that it is no longer appropriate for that person to use the title?

In Diana’s case, and indeed that of Andrew’s own ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York – or ‘Fergie’ as she became known - divorce from a son of the Queen was used as justification to remove the HRH title.

Yet despite her occasional naughty antics, Diana never reached anywhere near the depths of shameful conduct that Andrew has now plummeted.

It is therefore, surely, entirely wrong he now maintains an HRH title with all the entitled sycophantic treatment that goes with it.

Andrew has brought disgrace to the royal family and plunged the Monarchy, and his poor mother, into a constitutional crisis that could yet be far more devastating and far-reaching than it already is.

If he’s not fit for duty then he’s not fit for our respect either.

Though it will hurt her even more to do this, the Queen should announce he is being stripped of the HRH title, or she will send a message to the world that getting divorced from her sons is a worse offence than cozying up to a man convicted of procuring a 14-year-old girl for prostitution.

If Andrew wants a title, then Prince Pinocchio will do just fine.

 

PIERS MORGAN: Prince Andrew should lose 'HRH' as Diana did

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