PRINCE Andrew’s armed Royal Protection Cops are replaced by Taser-only private security officers.
And it’s believed King Charles will personally foot the bill for his brother’s new bodyguard team.
It comes after The Sun revealed on Sunday last month that the 62-year-old Duke of York wrote to Home Office ministers complaining about the loss of his taxpayer-funded police gun cops.
He wanted the government to continue collecting the estimated £3million-a-year bill despite no longer having an official public role.
It comes nearly a year after the scandal-plagued Duke was stripped of all royal roles and public duties by the Queen over his alleged settlement of Virginia Giuffre’s sex abuse in disgrace while he denied liability.
Buckingham Palace refused to say whether the king would fund his brother’s private guards, mostly ex-Met cops, and use his £24million-a-year income from the Duchy of Lancaster.
They also refuse to comment on security issues but are facing fresh calls to be more open about how taxpayers are funding the royal family’s protections.
Andrew is hard cash after finally selling his £19million Swiss chalet this week after two years of legal battles – but his pals refuse to say if he reached into his own pocket.
The disgraced duke’s deal comes as Prince Harry is suing the Home Office, saying it was “unfair” and “illegal” to remove his armed guards when he and Meghan gave up royal duty of living in the US.
Norman Baker, former Home Secretary and member of the Privy Council, said: “Armed protection has always been a status symbol for the likes of Prince Andrew.
“Of course he should pay it himself and not burden the taxpayer because he is a private individual and does not perform any public tasks.
“People like David Beckham pay for their own safety, so why wouldn’t Prince Andrew do it?
“But there needs to be more accountability for who and how security is paid overall.
“We should know who is paying how much. I would bet that the taxpayer will end up paying for it indirectly anyway.
“I would imagine the King could send it through the Duchy of Lancaster, then he could say it was an expense incurred in the course of his duties and set it off against taxes.
“We shouldn’t be paying for the safety of Andrew or Harry or for any member of the royal family not performing public duties.”
A source said: “Andrew is no longer a working king or performing royal duties, so there is no automatic right that the British people should pay for armed protection.
“He is still a high profile individual and would be a safety target without a doubt.
“But there is no longer any justification for taxpayers to bear the cost of the armed police.
“He was demoted from the royal family and as a result his security is downgraded.
“It’s a huge blow to his ego. Worse, if he can’t afford it, he’d be begging his older brother for money.”
The protection is similar to that offered to his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie – who are also not working royals.
The siblings received private security, but the bill was footed by the royal family.
Andrew has not done any charity work or employment, and insiders say he spends his time riding his horses, watching TV or playing golf.
Attempts to invent a new role have failed, but last month he was handed a trip to Bahrain, with all expenses paid, by friends of the Bahrain royal family.
Andy has endured a string of security incidents in recent years and is consistently ranked by the public as the least popular member of the royal family.
An intruder, who said her name was “Irene Windsor,” talked past guards and spent about 20 minutes walking around the grounds of the Royal Lodge last April before being arrested.
Weeks later, two other intruders were arrested after scaling the fence to his home, and a year ago cops arrested a woman who smashed the window of Andrew’s Range Rover on Windsor’s Long Walk.
And on Christmas Day last year, police officers swooped down on a man wielding a crossbow at Windsor Castle, where Andrew was with the Queen.
A spokesman for the Duke of York declined to comment.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said it did not comment on private security and declined to answer further questions.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6944959/prince-andrew-royal-protection-cops-private-bodyguards/ Prince Andrew’s taxpayer-funded royal security guards will be replaced by private bodyguards who can only carry tasers