SCANDAL-ridden Prince Andrew smiled today as he was seen for the first time since the Queen sensationally sacked him.
The Duke of York, 59, put on a brave face just hours after releasing a bombshell statement revealing he was stepping down from his royal duties.
Prince Andrew waved from behind the wheel of a car as he left his home in Windsor, Berks, this morning on his way to Buckingham Palace.
But he appeared more downtrodden as he arrived shortly after.
The embattled prince was stripped of his royal duties and 249,000 sovereign grant in the wake of a car-crash Newsnight interview over his relationship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
He released a statement yesterday confirming the Queen had “given her permission” for him to “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future”.
The Queen, who yesterday celebrated her 72nd wedding anniversary, is understood to have come to the decision after consulting Prince Charles.
Andrew has been accused of sensational claims he bedded a 17-year-old and has faced mounting criticism for his friendship with the disgraced tycoon.
He will conduct no royal or public duties and will step back from all patronages.
Today he was forced to retire as Chancellor of Huddersfield University after students passed a motion for him to resign with immediate effect.
The University said in a statement that he had “decided to step down immediately to allow the University to appoint a successor”.
“The Duke has informed the University that he continues to unequivocally condemn Jeffrey Epsteins activities and regrets his ill-judged association with him,” it read.
The Duke has also pledged to co-operate with authorities investigating Epstein – opening him up to serious criminal risk.
It was a drastic decision for the Queen becausePrince Andrewis her favourite son. And he is unlikely to return to a frontline royal role.
The Queen appeared determined not to allow the saga to overshadow her duties as she greeted recipients of the Chatham House Prize for 2019.
As she signed the visitors’ book at the end of the evening, she asked Chatham House director Robin Niblett the date. When he replied, Her Majesty laughed and said: “Oh I knew that!”
Last night, a friend of Prince Andrew revealed: The Queen summoned the Duke to Buckingham Palace to tell him her decision.
It was a devastating moment for both of them. His reputation is in tatters.
“It is unlikely he will ever perform royal duties again. He is disgraced.
‘THE QUEEN IS HORRIFIED’
The announcement followed days of media scrutiny after his attempts to defend himself in Saturdays disastrous Newsnight interview were ridiculed.
A royal source said: The Queenwas privately very disappointed with Prince Andrew, despite the public efforts to rally round.
Its wrong to think that she just accepted his version of events, that the interview had gone well and there was nothing to worry about.
She saw the fallout and was very unhappy. She has spent her whole life protecting the monarchy and in just one week her sons actions threatened to tear it apart.
“Something had to be done to draw a line under all of this.
Royal author Penny Junor said: This is absolutely unprecedented that a fairly senior member of theRoyal Familyshould be forced to retire from public life.
She added: I would think the Queen is horrified.
ROYAL CAREER OVER
And he expresses sympathy for Epsteins victims, which he had been accused of not showing in his BBC interview.
HOAR can reveal Prince Andrew, 59, held crisis talks on the phone with Prince Charles, 71, who is in New Zealand.
Charles made it clear his brother must step down from royal duties.
Prince Andrews life will transform overnight. A Palace courtier said: He is stepping back from all his patronages as well.
“There will be no activity for any charities. No public activities whatsoever.
But the Queen has told him he remains a member of the Royal Family. He will still appear during Trooping the Colour and on the balcony at major events.
Social historian Professor Judith Rowbotham compared the developments to the 1936 abdication of Edward VIII to marry US divorcee Wallis Simpson. She said: There are plenty of parallels there.
Im far from surprised because the Duke of York was ill-advised to undertake the interview.
In another development, a letter to The Times from Buckingham Palace has cast doubt on when Prince Andrew first met Epstein.
The 2011 letter, from the Duke of Yorks then private secretary, says they met in the early 1990s not in 1999 as the he said in his Newsnight interview.
The Palace said he stands by his recollection of events.
The Queen put on a brave face as she joked with Sir David Attenborough
Prince Andrew has faced a backlash since his car-crash interview on BBC Newsnight
Prince Andrew was under fire over claims he bedded Virginia Roberts when she was 17
Prince Andrew had also been hit by scandal over his friendship with billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein
The Queen stripped Prince Andrew of all solo royal duties