Andrew stepped down from his public role a year ago, after his BBC Newsnight interview addressing his association with Jeffrey Epstein was met with international horror. The Duke of York met the disgraced financier in around 1999, and proceeded to invite Epstein to some of the royal estates on several different occasions over the next decade. Epstein was convicted as a sex offender in 2008 and served 13 months. He was arrested again on charges relating to sex trafficking last July, but killed himself before his trial.
The furore surrounding the royal’s former friend continued after his death amid allegations of an international sex trafficking ring — meaning Andrew faced further public pressure to explain their friendship.
The royal has repeatedly denied any knowledge of Epstein’s crimes, with Buckingham Palace’s backing.
After his Newsnight interview, Andrew recognised that “my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work”, meaning he felt he should “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future”.
This meant he had to forfeit his £250,000 salary he received from public funds.
Over the last year, he has dodged the spotlight and is not expected to make a royal return any time soon — but many believe he has been living off handouts from the Queen in the meantime.
Prince Andrew’s income is still “shrouded in secrecy”
Prince Andrew decided to step back from public duties last November
Insiders claim Andrew is still receiving income from the Queen’s private estate, the Duchy of Lancaster, although the exact amount is disputed.
Yet, it’s worth noting that Andrew’s expenses have always been difficult to untangle and far exceeded his £250,000 annual salary.
He was previously dubbed Air Miles Andy after using taxpayers’ money to fund his extensive international travel — in 2011 and 2012 alone he clocked up a bill of more than £378,000 for flights.
The Duke of York triggered further fury when only this September, the annual royal accounts showed he had spent £16,000 of public money to fly to Northern Ireland and back in July 2019 — just to attend a golf championship.
Royal commentator David McClure explained: “No one knows for sure how much [money] he gets.
“There is a mystery as to where Andrew’s money comes from.
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The Queen reportedly got to decide Andrew’s income once he left his royal role
“We do know that he is funded by money from the Queen’s Duchy of Lancaster estate but the precise details of that are shrouded in a fog of pea-souper proportions.”
He is known as one of the more extravagant members of the Royal Family.
The National Audit Office, the public accountancy watchdog, pointed out that the Duke of York had not quite broken guidelines for royal travel expenses back in 2005 — but had always chosen the most expensive options.
In his role as captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews, for instance, it cost the taxpayer £32,000 to hire the RAF to fly him to Scotland and back as he attended golf events throughout 2004.
The Guardian noted at the time: “His extravagance contrasts with attempts by other members of the Royal Family to make a virtue of the value for money they say they provide to the British taxpayer.”
Speaking after Andrew’s bombshell interview last year, Mr McClure said the royal may now be relying on inherited wealth.
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Andrew and Sarah Ferguson with their two children in Verbier, skiing in 1999
Andrew’s golfing expenses have been scrutinised for years
He said: “There are also a lot of trusts knocking around.
“The Queen Mother left trusts. George VI left trusts, we think for his grandchildren, so more than likely there is trust money.
“Trusts are the traditional vehicle by which the Royal Family passes on their wealth.”
The Queen was left to decide how much Andrew received from her private income after he stepped down, but it is expected never to be disclosed.
Mr McClure pointed out: “In theory, he probably needs less money.
“I think part of the problem is maybe the Queen’s emotional attachment to her favourite son.
“She’s both a head of state and also a mother, she must be torn in that respect. There are expenses to be paid.”
Mr McClure also requested for the monarchy to make the royal funds more transparent in the future.
The Yorks have landed themselves in further hot water this year over their finances.
In May it was claimed that a former friend was suing Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson as they still owed £6.7million on a Swiss ski chalet they bought in 2014.
The luxury pad in Verbier was intended to be a nest egg for the York daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.
The Daily Mail alleged the chalet’s former owner was still awaiting payment four months later, even though it was supposed to be paid off in December 2019.
The couple subsequently decided to put the chalet on the market in June, for £18.3million — the exact amount they paid for it back in 2014.