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OpinionThe Yorks

The wrong York wants to take on royal duties

This weekend, the wrong York announced that they would like to take on official royal duties.

That’s right, beleaguered Prince Andrew, whose annus horribilis kicked off last November with a disastrous News Night interview to defend himself against allegations of wrongdoing and his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and culminated mere weeks later with the announcement that he had effectively retired from public life, has been plotting a return to royal duties.

Roya Nikkhah at The Sunday Times reported this exclusive, with a source saying: “The Duke is spending time working out how he can serve his country and support the monarchy in the future, and what else he might want to do with his life.”

The source goes on to say that any return to official public duties would have to be at the discretion of a group including The Queen, The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge (both of whom are taking on more of the decision-making as of late), palace officials, and the government.

Here’s my opinion: if Andrew wants to sit at his stately home and work out how he can best serve the monarchy, he can begin—and end—at pushing for his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie to take on official royal duties in his stead.

And once that’s complete, he can go back to his life away from the limelight, content that his daughters, who carry themselves with aplomb and who already advocate for important causes on their own time, can carry on as the official representation for the York branch of the Royal Family.

We’ve already seen an increased presence for Princess Eugenie, who has, in the past couple of weeks, launched a charity appeal for her patronage, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Charity; was announced as the new royal patron of the Scoliosis Association UK; visited a Salvation Army safety house to discuss anti-trafficking measures as part of an organisation she co-created; and spoke at a UN Women’s conference about human trafficking and COVID-19.

Princess Beatrice is, deservedly, still in the newlywed stage, sending out thank you notes to people all over the world who congratulated her after her secret nuptials in July. But she too has been active throughout the pandemic, discussing how dyslexia affected her life for better and for worse, talking with cancer patients at the Teenage Cancer Trust, and providing general support through donating goods to families in need during the pandemic alongside her mother and sister.

Nikkhah reported that the Royal Family is “supportive of [Andrew] thinking about what life might be like after issues are resolved, but the palace is not currently planning any future rebranding of his role.”

Perhaps what once was a given, that there would be no official royal roles for Beatrice and Eugenie, needs to be re-examined, especially in light of the way the sisters have conducted themselves throughout the pandemic. They are passionate about their causes, show their support on their own time, and would make valuable contributions as working members of the Firm.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.