Prince Andrew has been accused of playing “dressing up as a royal for the day” hours before he is to attend an event alongside King Charles. The Duke of York is set to don his ermine robes for the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) service and party held this evening at Windsor. The bash celebrates loyalty and service to the Royal Family, and will reportedly see some 600 guests in attendance.

Among those stepping out in Berkshire alongside Prince Andrew is also Prince Edward, with whom the Duke of York was spotted horseriding on the weekend.

Andrew’s reported attendance at today’s event was criticised by Norman Baker, the former Lib Dem MP for Lewes and current serving member of the Privy Council.

He told The Sun: “Prince Andrew is going to any length possible to worm his way back into public life.

“The only order he should be given is the order of the boot. He is simply being allowed to play dressing up as a royal for the day when really he should be serving a long period of silence.”

King Charles became the sovereign of the RVO upon his accession to the throne in September, and as such he can decide who is admitted to the order and with what grade.

The RVO is one of the honours the Duke was able to retain after he returned his military and royal patronages to his mother in mid-January 2022.

That move came one day after a New York judge refused Andrew’s lawyers’ request to throw out a civil lawsuit launched against the Duke by Virginia Giuffre.

Ms Giuffre accused the Duke of sexual assault on three occasions while she was 17 and being trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew vehemently and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and, after returning his honours, demanded a trial by jury.

Ms Giuffre and the Duke reached a settlement out of court in February last year, which did not represent an admission of liability or guilt on Andrew’s behalf.

The Duke hasn’t carried out an official royal engagement since mid-November 2019, when he stepped back from public duties following his disastrous interview with Newsnight.

He has however made a few public appearances over the past years linked to paying tribute to his late parents.

In June last year, he was meant to attend the public service of the Order of the Garter, of which he remains a member, but he pulled out last minute – reportedly due to an ultimatum issued by Prince William.

Andrew is believed to have attended the reception held behind palace walls at Windsor Castle following the service.

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