SCANDAL-HIT Prince Andrew faces being stripped of his round-the-clock armed police protection as the fallout from his car-crash Newsnight interview continues.
The Home Office is proposing a major downgrade of security for the Duke of York after he was sacked from his royal duties by the Queen.
A final decision is in the hands of Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Prime Minister.
A senior source told the Evening Standard: “A review was ordered into the Met’s protection of HRH The Duke of York once it was announced he was stepping down from royal duties in November.
“Those in charge of royal security cannot write a blank cheque for anyone who does not have a public role for the foreseeable future. Round-the-clock armed protection is very expensive.
“The Met is obliged to review the position to ensure it is justified.”
Andrew, 59, who faced a public backlash after his disastrous BBC interview, may now have to fund the bodyguards himself, or face the prospect of having no protection.
The cost of protecting the royal family is not made public but is thought to be around £100 million a year.
It is understood taxpayers forked out more than £250,000 on the Duke of York’s security teams’ travel expenses when he was promoting [email protected]
A Home Office spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual security arrangements.”
Sun Online have contacted Buckingham Palace for a comment.
CAR CRASH INTERVIEW
The Duke of York faced a public backlash following his car crash BBC interview, where he said he didn’t regret his friendship with convicted sex offender Epstein.
Andrew was heavily criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein’s victims.
The duke has only been seen in public a handful of times since the interview and a large number of his major patronages have accepted his resignation while others have cut ties with him.
Last week Andrew’s private secretary Amanda Thirsk, who was behind his decision to go ahead with the interview in November, agreed to quit.
It’s understood Ms Thirsk, who was employed by the Royal Household for 15 years, received a payout worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Meanwhile police have come under fire for refusing to release details of Andrew’s bodyguards’ movements on the night he allegedly had sex with Virginia Roberts.
Andrew claimed he was at Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, on March 10, 2001 – the day he is accused of having sex with Ms Roberts.
Ms Roberts, 17 at the time, says she was trafficked by the prince’s paedophile billionaire pal Jeffrey Epstein.
The Mirror submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for details of his police bodyguards’ movements – but the Met claimed the information could put national security at risk and aid criminals.
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There is also a question mark surrounding funding for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s security costs after they announced they will step down from their royal duties and spend time in Canada.
Their protection is said to be at the heart of Whitehall negotiations over the couple’s future abroad.
It currently costs the Met’s Royalty protection command around £600,000 a year to protect the couple and baby son Archie.
But the bill could at least double if the force have to dispatch close protection officers to Canada.
The Canadian Government are reported to have offered to meet a substantial part of the security costs.
Canadians are split over the issue, with some furious their government has hinted it will pick up the tab for Harry and Meghan’s security – which will cost millions of pounds a year.
Andrew failed to show any sympathy for the victims of Epstein in his disastrous Newsnight interview[/caption]