Prince Andrew is said to be planning a return to official royal duties after stepping back from the public eye following his controversial relationship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
A source close to the Prince has said that he has spent the time he’s been locked down in the Royal Lodge on his mother Queen Elizabeth II's Windsor estate thinking about how he can “support the monarchy” in the future by once more taking up a “public role”.
It could be an uphill struggle. Any future public role for Andrew 60, would need to be personally signed off by Her Majesty, as well as the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, palace officials and the government.
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An insider told the Sunday Times the Queen has a "soft spot" for her son, but Prince Charles and Prince William are unlikely to sanction his return.
They said: “The toxicity of his reputation is that he is indelibly associated with Epstein, and he cannot shed
“The Queen has a soft spot for Andrew, but the Prince of Wales and Prince William will have a bigger say and I can’t see the royal family allowing him a return to any kind of public role."
The source added: “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.
“He’s locked down at Royal Lodge, thinking about his future service and public role. He has some clear thoughts."
They added that the Andrew is “philosophical” that any return to public life might not mean carrying on “as normal”.
The 60-year-old is understood to have assembled a team of top lawyers and PR experts to help clear his name and rebuild his public image in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.
A Palace insider told the Times that the "hurdles" surrounding the Epstein case will make it "difficult" for Andrew to represent the family in any capacity.
Andrew admitted he did not regret his friendship with Epstein in a disastrous BBC interview with Emily Maitlis in November 2019. He has said in the past that he is willing to cooperate with the FBI investigation into the paedophile.
The American financier died in his jail cell on August 10, 2019, while awaiting his trial for sex trafficking charges.
He had previously been convicted of procuring an underage girl for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute.
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