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Prince Andrew’s ‘birthday honour’ snubbed as Royal Family facing popularity balancing act

Prince Andrew should remain without his titles says expert

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On Saturday, Andrew celebrates his birthday but the Prince won’t have the union flag flown to mark the occasion after a city council decided to fly it on another date instead. Traditionally, there are nine members of the Royal Family for whom the Union Flag is flown to mark their date of birth.

These include the Queen, her four children Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, plus two of their spouses, Camilla and Sophie, and lastly William and Kate, as the Duke of Cambridge is in the direct line of succession.

Typically Belfast City Hall flies the union flag on specific designated days since a vote in December 2012 to end its permanent display.

Currently, it is flown 15 times a year outside the civic building in Belfast.

However, Belfast City Council has voted not to fly the union flag for when the Duke of York celebrates his 62nd birthday on February 19.

Baruch Labunski, the founder of Rank Secure a web design and internet marketing firm, noted this was a snub for the Duke who will now go without the honour.

He told Express.co.uk: “Prince Andrew, the ninth in line for the throne, has already been removed for a birthday honour for Belfast, Ireland.

“The town council voted against flying the Union Flag over the city for his birthday.

“The flag is traditionally flown for certain days of significance for the United Kingdom and Prince Andrew’s birthday was listed as one.”

Councillors decided the union flag should be flown on July 1 to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme instead.

This move was agreed without a vote, according to the BBC.

The decision was made by the council as Andrew faced a civil case in New York over sexual assault allegations.

Virginia Giuffre, previously Virginia Roberts, alleges the Duke sexually assaulted her on three separate occasions in 2001 when she was a minor under US law – claims Andrew has consistently denied.

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On Tuesday, it was announced Ms Giuffre and the Duke of York had agreed a “settlement in principle” ahead of a court trial.

The exact figure was not revealed but reports speculate that the sum stands at £12 million.

Documents submitted to the court from Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies written jointly with Andrew’s lawyers said the Duke of York pledged to donate a “substantial” amount to Ms Guiffre’s charity.

Despite the developments in the case, marketing expert Mr Labunski claims it “remains uncertain” as to whether the Duke of York’s birthday on Saturday will be marked by the Queen in a public-facing way.

Typically birthdays of members of the Firm are marked on the Royal Family’s social media accounts.

He told Express.co.uk that, while it was marked in 2020 “despite scandals, the Prince’s new legal issues and the stripping of all his titles may cause the Queen to rethink the tribute.”

He added: “The Royal Family is trying to achieve a balancing act of supporting Prince Andrew as a family while distancing from him in their official capacities.

“The removal of all his positions from organisations shows disapproval.

“Even so, the Queen seems to be offering the Prince some allowances as family.

“Some of those decisions may be weighed against public opinion to achieve the right balance.”

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