THE QUEEN was scarcely asleep when it began.
Message after message sent over Buckingham Palace’s machine warned that life was about to change for Prince Andrew – and not for the better.
I was told by a source close to him: “They didn’t even wait ten days after the Queen’s mourning ended. That’s when courtiers started bringing the bad news.”
It was recently made clear to Andrew that the annual allowance he has received from the monarch since leaving the Navy in 2001 would be severely reduced – possibly even eliminated – as early as April.
His mother paid him the grant, which was ultimately £249,000, from her own private wealth to enable him to fund his family home at Windsor’s Royal Lodge.
Now the prince – who I’m told is “distressed” – may have no choice but to abandon his 19-year-old home back in September.
Even people horrified by his association with the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein would surely ask, “What’s the rush?”
But while the news was bombshell for Andrew, it was openly discussed in royal circles.
Joking about his plight at a recent meeting in Windsor, a senior family member teased: “We’re going to kick Andrew out of this house.”
Often referred to as the Queen’s favourite, Andrew knew he would be protected as long as she lived.
But King Charles has been talking about a “slimmed-down monarchy” for years.
The situation is not completely hopeless for Andrew.
He’s on a 75-year lease and he can’t just be kicked out.
But finding money to maintain the 30-room lodge might prove impossible.
He has already made a multimillion-pound payment to US prosecutor Virginia Giuffre – whose abuse allegations he denies.
He wants to challenge the terms of the settlement but knows further litigation will cost him.
Will he follow his nephew Harry’s lead and pursue commercial deals previously unthinkable for royals?
Friends of the Yorks are already discussing financial independence.
Cut off from royal duties and frontline family support, at risk of – in his view – losing his home, Andrew might ask, “What choice do I have?”
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