A bombshell statement released by the Queen yesterday has effectively banished her son Prince Andrew from the Royal Family.
The tightly-written 42-word missive from Her Majesty will likely result in the Duke of York fading from public life forever, The Sun reported.
The Queen stripped Andrew of his military titles and royal patronages and banned him from using the title "His Royal Highness" as he is facing a sex abuse damages case in the US.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.
"The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen."
And seven clues in the carefully-worded announcement suggests there is no way back for Andrew.
1. ‘Queen’s approval and agreement’
The two-line statement starts with the phrase “with the Queen’s approval and agreement".
The wording forcefully shows that she backs the decision to expel the son many claim has always been her “favourite”.
And some sources tried to suggest Andrew “consented” to the move - as if he had any choice.
Insiders have said the decision was one of the hardest in the Queen's 70 years on the throne.
But Her Majesty is making clear this dramatic downgrading comes right from the top.
2. ‘Private citizen’
The next part of the statement says Andrew will defend his sex abuse damages case with Virginia Giuffre as a “private citizen”.
The Queen appears to be going out of her way to separate the Royal Family from the case - and say Andrew won't get any help.
This is likely to have come as a particularly stinging blow to Andrew - who has enjoyed the privilege of being a Prince - and all the benefits that come with it - since birth.
The Queen had reportedly been paying his legal fees since he first appointed a lawyer last February after his disastrous Newsnight interview.
But it appears Andrew will no longer be able to rely on those streams of income - and, if he does choose to settle, he will stump up the costs alone.
The Duke has vowed to continue fighting the case in the courts - but many commentators expect him to agree an out-of-court settlement that could be up to £10 million ($A19 million).
Any action he takes from now on will be by himself.
3. No return
Andrew's royal role was suspended following his disastrous Newsnight interview, when he stepped back from public life.
The Duke may have been hoping to pick it up again after the legal storm blew over.
But as he was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages yesterday, a royal source made clear “they will not return to The Duke of York”.
The Palace was making clear this wasn't a temporary move while Andrew fights the sex case - there is no way back for him.
The various roles will be distributed to other members of the Royal Family instead.
4. ‘Widely discussed’
When the statement was released, a royal source said the decision had been "widely discussed among the Royal Family".
The message appeared to be that a significant number of members of the Royal Family had talked about Andrew's future - without him - and were agreement with Her Majesty.
It means the royals have acted in unison to protect the future of The Firm - and found no place for Andrew within it.
Charles has long spoken of his plans for a “slimmed down” monarchy, and in 2019 it was alleged he already wanted Andrew gone.
When he becomes king, he will be flanked by just his own family, their partners and their children, it’s believed.
In the Queen's Christmas speech, photos of Kate, William and their children, Charles and Camilla and Prince Philip could be seen.
5. No more HRH
The royal source also made clear that The Duke of York “will no longer use the style ‘His Royal Highness’ in any official capacity”.
Just like Harry and Meghan, Andrew will no longer be allowed to use HRH - a title reserved for the most senior members of the Royal Family.
Since around the beginning of the 18th century, the acronym has been given to the children and grandchildren of the monarch.
Ultimately, whoever the king or queen is at the time decides whether the title is bestowed - meaning Her Majesty personally intervened in Andrew's case.
Those who have lost the honour - other than Andrew - include Princess Diana, who was instead known as ‘Diana, Princess of Wales’.
Sarah Ferguson lost her HRH after her divorce from the Duke of York.
It was a very strong signal Andrew was no longer in the in-crowd.
6. William’s fury
Prince William was reportedly a key figure in the Queen's judgment yesterday, and helped his grandmother realise Andrew's position was “grave”.
Both he and Charles are said to be in complete agreement that Andrew must go - and were “completely furious” after he “crossed a red line”, The Sun reported.
The men held an hour-long summit with Her Majesty at Windsor before Andrew was informed of the decision.
They were also both said to have been deeply angry at the suggestion the Queen would be forced to pay Andrew's legal fees.
A source said both future kings wanted him to “sort out his own mess”.
With the heir to the throne Charles and second-in-line William both having a hand in Andrew's removal, it suggests no way back for him whoever reigns in future.
7. Queen’s decision
The Sun understands the Queen personally worded the statement.
Rather than allowing her trusted staff to write the missive on her behalf, she reportedly decided how it should be written herself.
She was also determined not to allow any emotional sentiment into it, it’s said.
It is noticeably different to the statement issued when the Sussexes were stripped of their titles in February 2021.
At that time, a much longer note was issued, which revealed Harry had spoken to his grandmother about the decision.
That particular statement also included a touching addition which hinted at the Queen’s upset.
It read: “While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family”.
No such words were included in the latest statement on Andrew.