The Queen’s decision to strip Prince Andrew of his HRH and military titles following his settlement of a lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse was her ‘final gesture of self-sacrifice’, a documentary has claimed.
The late monarch, who died in September 2022, made the decision the previous January after the Duke of York, 63, was accused by Virginia Giuffre of sexual abuse relating to his associations with Jeffrey Epstein.
Episode five of Inside the House of Windsor, which airs on Thursday on ITVX, explores the late Queen’s loyalty to her second-eldest son, the ‘spare’ of the family, amid the allegations from Ms Giuffre, which he has always denied.
The episode, titled Heirs and Spares, notes how the late monarch stuck by father-of-two Andrew as public opinion turned against him following a car crash interview with BBC Newsnight – but after the civil lawsuit was settled in January 2022, she finally decided to remove Prince Andrew’s titles.
Showing footage of the late monarch with King Charles and Queen Camilla, as well as the Waleses, on the Buckingham Palace balcony during her final appearance, the episode noted that the royals who were not present were the most telling insight into her state of mind.
Episode five of Inside the House of Windsor, which streams on ITVX from Thursday, has claimed the late Queen’s decision to strip Prince Andrew of his HRH title before she died was her ‘final gesture of self-sacrifice’. Pictured: The mother and son at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2017
The voiceover says: ‘Harry has left the country and builds a new life in America.
‘And now, the Queen has stripped Andrew of his HRH title. A final gesture of self-sacrifice.’
Elsewhere in the episode, Prince Harry’s troubled relationship with his family as the ‘spare’ is explored, from his time serving in Afghanistan to his decision to step down as a working royal in 2020.
Royal commentators note how the Duke of Sussex found solace through his role in the armed forces, where he ‘earnt’ his place rather than being born into it – but add that Prince William, as the heir, was not sent to Afghanistan because it was considered too great a risk.
The episode notes that the Queen’s final Buckingham Palace balcony appearance was telling because of the members of the family who were not there, including Prince Harry and Prince Andrew
Inside the House of Windsor episode 5, which airs on Thursday evening on ITVX, plays footage from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, including the sermon delivered by Rev Michael Curry
The programme delved into his relationship with Meghan, making note of how the wedding ceremony of the couple in May 2018 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor had ‘intended to reshape what a royal wedding can be’.
As footage is played of the sermon at the church, delivered by Bishop Michael Curry from Chicago, the voiceover notes that Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and the Queen ‘appeared moved’ by his message of love.
The voiceover says: ‘When Harry and Meghan marry, they throw a different kind of celebration. It’s intended to reshape what a royal wedding can be.
‘The main event of the service is a black preacher from Chicago, with a reputation not only as an extraordinary orator, but also as a humanitarian.’
The documentary tells how Rev Curry’s sermon, which spoke of God and love being intertwined, ‘appeared to move’ Harry and Meghan and the late Queen.
It also notes that, in contrast, other members of the royal family ‘appeared amused’. The clip then cuts to footage of Kate Middleton and Camilla looking at each other during the sermon.
Another clip is played of Charles sat with his head down while Prince William, sitting next to him, appears to stifle a laugh.
The documentary notes that, after Meghan married into the royal family, Princes William and Harry decided to halt many of their joint charity ventures and began to take separate paths with their philanthropic work.
‘It’s as though the faultlines in society are spreading and causing cracks within the royal family,’ the voiceover claims.
The voiceover notes how the royal couple’s wedding ‘intended to reshape what a royal wedding could be’ by inviting Rev Curry to speak
As footage from the sermon is played in the episode, the voiceover notes that some members of the royal family, including the Queen, ‘appeared moved’ by Rev Curry’s message
The episode notes that, in contrast to the Queen’s reaction to the sermon, some members of the royal family ‘appeared amused’
As the programme follows events within the royal family in chronological order until Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to step down as working royals and move to the US in 2020, it notes the difficult decisions the late Queen had to make about her grandson’s position in the royal family in the last years of her life.
At the same time, the late monarch also had to deal with accusations of sexual abuse levelled at her son Prince Andrew, another spare, from Virginia Giuffre.
The episode made note of how Prince Andrew’s mother battled with her loyalty to her son versus her desire to keep the British monarchy afloat.
It noted how she steered the royal family through crises including Ms Giuffre’s civil lawsuit against the Duke of York, which saw him stripped of his royal titles as he settled the case out of court.
Elsewhere the episode noted how the late monarch and other royals coped with accusations from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, during their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, that members of the family had asked about how dark Prince Archie’s skin would be when he was born.
The claim was made by Meghan and Harry during their tell-all interview amid the Covid pandemic, however they never revealed who had made the alleged comments.
In response, Buckingham Palace issued a response on behalf of all family members including the Queen, which read: ‘The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.
‘The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.’
The episode also claimed the Queen didn’t want to be ‘pushed around’ by the British public after Princess Diana‘s death – and ‘behaved as any grandmother would have’.
After the devastating news broke around the world, the Queen remained at her Scottish home of Balmoral, where she and several members of her family had been enjoying their summer holiday. She was joined by Diana’s sons Princes William and Harry, then aged 15 and 12, respectively.
But the decision to stay away from Buckingham Palace and the grieving crowds that lined the gates, as well as her silence in the days after the princess’ death, was deeply criticised by some of the mourning nation.
‘The British public wanted The Queen to dance to their tune, didn’t they?’ Lady Anne Glenconner, the late Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting, told the documentary. Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey added: ‘”Your Majesty, your country needs you to come and comfort us”, well The Queen wasn’t having that.’
A new docuseries about the Royal Family has claimed Queen Elizabeth II (pictured delivering a speech about the death of Diana in 1997) didn’t want to be ‘pushed around’ by the British public after Princess Diana’s death – and ‘behaved as any grandmother would have’
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales follow the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, to Westminster Abbey on September 6, 1997
The Queen arrives at the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales, at Westminster Abbey, on September 6, 1997
In the programme, members of the public interviewed at the time shared their criticism of the monarch shortly after Diana’s passing. The princess died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.
‘Our Queen should be in London with our people and they should know how all her people feel about Diana,’ said one tearful woman. ‘I think it’s disgusting, they’ve not appeared or said a word,’ another added.
Another woman insisted she found the Royal Family’s behaviour in the days after Diana’s death ‘very, very disgraceful’.
Lady Anne Glenconner, however, said Queen Elizabeth ‘behaved as an any grandmother would.’
‘She stayed in Scotland, because William and Harry were there, and she looked after them, and that’s what you do,’ added the 90-year-old socialite.
She continued: ‘Princess Margaret, of course, lived at Kensington Palace, and from her windows you could see a sea of flowers, which was extraordinary.
‘But of course, a lot of them were wrapped in cellophane so the smell from these flowers at Kensington Palace, I mean she had to keep all the windows closed. It was very unfortunate.
‘I don’t know what happened, this extraordinary outpouring of grief, people just went mad, screaming and crying.’
But while the Queen kept her silence, the country’s Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair, who had only been in the job for four months, addressed the public.
Anji Hunter, Director of Government Relations from 1997 to 2001, who played an intimate part in the arrangements for the funeral, recalled: ‘I spoke to Tony very very early, he rang me and said this is enormous.
ITVX’s The Real Crown: Inside the House of Windsor, which has been released today, dedicated its fourth episode to exploring Her late Majesty’s (pictured with Diana in 1986) decisions following the passing of the then Princess of Wales in 1997
Sir Malcolm Ross said the monarch, pictured with Princes Philip, Charles, William and Harry looking at floral tributes to Diana at Balmoral in 1997, made the decision to have a royal funeral
‘Tony went out a couple of times to fill the vacuum, where are the royal family… they were not visible.’
Anji also recalled being ‘reprimanded’ by Prince Philip over a speaker at Buckingham Palace, explaining: ‘Suddenly this voice came through, I’ll never forget it.
‘It was Prince Philip’s voice, and it was quite anguished and he reprimanded us and he said “you must realise these boys are grieving, they have lost their mother.”
‘People forget that the Royal Family were up there in Balmoral dealing with this most terrible situation,’ said Anji, adding: ‘I think [the Queen] didn’t want to be pushed around.’
The Queen eventually returned to London and spent more than 10 minutes speaking to the crowd outside Buckingham Palace, alongside her husband, Prince Philip.
‘Ma’am, take care of the boys,’ one person was filmed telling the monarch, to which the then Duke of Edinburgh said: ‘That’s what we’ve been doing.’
On September 5, the Queen finally gave a rare, televised speech, addressing the grieving British public as both ‘your Queen’ and ‘as a grandmother’.
The documentary also covered the outpouring of grief when The Queen Mother died in 2002, with Anji claiming Queen Elizabeth ‘showed a bit more emotion’ in a speech to the nation and was a ‘little bit more emotionally intelligent than perhaps she used to be’.
The episode also revealed how former Prime Minister Tony Blair feared the late Queen would be killed by an acrobat at the Millennium party he had invited her to. Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are pictuted raising their glasses as midnight strikes in 2000
Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair and wife Cherie, singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ during midnight celebrations to welcome in the new millennium at the Millennium Dome in Grenwich, south east London in 2000
Tthe Duke of Edinburgh is pictured kissing Queen Elizabeth II during the midnight celebrations at the Millennium Dome in Greenwich in London
Anji also revealed that Mr Blair feared the late Queen would be killed by an acrobat at the Millennium party he had invited her to.
Trapeze artists were seen flying above the then-PM, the Queen and her husband Prince Philip, according to the documentary.
Anji said Mr Blair had a ‘horrible feeling’ and ‘sort of dread’ going into the night’s festivities.
She claimed Prince Philip – as acrobats were ‘swinging literally above their heads’ – told Mr Blair: ‘Look they’ve got no safety wires.’
‘Suddenly he had this vision that one was going to fall onto the Queen and the headlines the next day was “Queen killed by flying acrobat,”‘ Anji said.
She also noted that the PM was ‘surprised’ that Her Majesty had even accepted his invitation to the New Year’s Eve party and claimed at one point, after seeing them interact, thought ‘they don’t want to be here’ and felt ‘so sorry for them’.
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