Report: Prince Andrew discussed replacing Charles as heir
Tensions between King Charles and Prince Andrew are escalating as the monarch seeks to evict his brother from the Royal Lodge — his home on the Windsor Estate. Andrew, however, appears to be adamant about staying despite receiving plenty of negative press.
After admitting to a friendship with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew stepped away from Royal duties and has since also been stripped of his military titles and patronages.
Because of this, many argue that there is no reason for the disgraced prince to be living in a $56 million, 30-bedroom mansion. Instead, Charles believes it would look much better to the public if he downsized to a more reasonable property.
“Is it appropriate for a disgraced prince to live in quite such style? Not everyone would think so. Andrew's children are grown-up, moreover, so it's not as if he needs the space,” says Angela Levin, journalist and royal biographer.
Andrew currently shares the Royal Lodge with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. His two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, no longer live there but do regularly visit the property.
Sources say he could be moving into Frogmore Cottage, the former U.K. residence of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are currently living in California. It is also rumored that Charles gave Andrew a deadline to pack up and leave by September.
Since becoming king, Charles has been feeling a lot of pressure and is working on improving the royal family’s image. Taking Andrew out of the spotlight could be one of the key steps to make that happen.
"I'm sure Charles still loves his brother and cares for him, but he has to distance himself, and can't slowly let him back into public life, although I know that's what Andrew wants," says royal commentator Phil Dampier.
In addition to evicting his brother, King Charles is also reportedly cutting off Andrew from his annual allowance of £250,000 ($470,000). Andrew has been receiving this amount from the late Queen Elizabeth throughout her reign.
Without this stipend, it is believed it would be very difficult for Andrew to keep up with the costs of owning the Royal Lodge or fund his day-to-day lifestyle. Hence, this move has caused some royal experts to speculate about whether there may be more to Charles’s actions than PR.
Charles and Andrew, an heir and spare, have always been in competition growing up. And it has long been known that the late Queen was apparently quite fond of Andrew and often favored him over Charles.
Recent revelations from Levin suggested that Andrew even once plotted to replace Charles in the line of succession and even discussed this with the Queen. Andrew also reportedly tried to interfere with Charles’ marriage to Camilla.
It would be a surprise, suggests Levin, if Charles had ulterior motives.
Or, Is Charles Wrongfully Blamed?
It has also been suggested that it may be Prince William pulling the strings behind the housing row. Considering that the Prince and Princess of Wales have been repeatedly accused of overshadowing the King since his coronation, royal experts believe this could be a very real possibility.
It has also been rumored that the Royal Lodge is being set aside to become the new home for William and Kate. As the heir to the throne with a growing family, it makes more sense for the property to go to him instead, suggest royal fans.
The Prince and Princess of Wales are currently living in Adelaide Cottage, also located on the Windsor estate.
"William has never been close to Andrew and now he probably sees him
as a problem, just like his brother Harry. William might think the two ‘spares’ have caused enough trouble for the House of Windsor and need to be separated from the institution,” explains Dampier.
Dampier also adds, “I think William has played a major part in sidelining his uncle and insisted there was no way back for him in public life.”