Royal family marks Prince Andrew’s 60th with baby photo and new portrait

19 February 2020, 11:11

Prince Andrew turns 60 on Wednesday
Prince Andrew turns 60 on Wednesday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The bells of Westminster Abbey will ring to mark Prince Andrew's 60th birthday on Wednesday, months after he stepped back from public duties.

The bells will still chime in celebration as it is a Royal Peculiar - a place of worship that falls under the jurisdiction of the monarch rather than a bishop.

The duke was due to be promoted to Admiral on his 60th birthday, in line with a longstanding policy that sees senior royals treated as serving military members.

But Buckingham Palace has already said the duke has asked to defer the promotion until he is able to fully resume royal duties.

Andrew gave up royal duties for the foreseeable future last November following a disastrous Newsnight appearance about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

He faced a backlash after the interview with critics accusing him of failing to show regret over his friendship with the disgraced financier, and empathy with his victims.

Government buildings will not be required to fly the Union flag to mark the occasion after he stepped back from public duties.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said there was “no longer a requirement” for the flag to be flown after the Duke of York retired following his involvement in the Epstein scandal.

A Culture department spokesman said: "Following the decision by the Duke of York to step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, there is no longer a requirement for UK Government buildings to fly the Union flag on Wednesday February 19."

Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein, also alleges the duke had sex with her on three separate occasions, including when she was 17, still a minor under US law.

Andrew, who strenuously denies the allegations, has faced calls to talk to the FBI and US prosecutors still investigating Epstein, who committed suicide in jail while facing sex trafficking charges.

According to reports, Andrew is expected to celebrate his birthday with his former wife Sarah, Duchess of York, their daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and friends at his Royal Lodge home in Windsor Great Park.