Croydon won’t be flying a flag to honour the birthday of Prince Andrew, a local Labour Party official has said.
A leaked email to local authorities from the government caused uproar and outrage when Whitehall reminded councils across the country to fly the Union flag on February 19, the Duke of York’s 60th birthday.
Liverpool City Council was among the first to announce that it would be in no way honouring the birthday of a minor member of the royal family who is now notorious for having been a close friend of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
The FBI, who continue to investigate allegations against Epstein, wants to interview the prince, but he has refused to co-operate. Since giving a controversial interview to the BBC last year, Prince Andrew has been forced to step back from royal duties.
Today, the government announced a U-turn, saying it has changed the policy of flying flags on royal birthdays, with local authorities no longer required to raise the Union Flag for Prince Andrew.
But before that, a tweet from Croydon Labour yesterday affirmed that no such flag-waving would be going on outside the Town Hall this month for Prince Andrew.
Ties to Prince Andrew with local institutions were severed quickly after his car crash television interview last November. Whitgift School, the £18,000-a-year private school in South Croydon was quick to announce that they were dropping Prince Andrew as their patron: “Following the Duke of York’s decision to stand aside from public duties, a decision has been made by the School and with the approval of the Court of Governors, to seek new patronages in the future.”
Today, the government is saying that it is advising councils “that there is no requirement to fly flags on February 19 following the decision by the Duke of York to step back from public duties for the foreseeable future”.
Designated days for flying the flag on government buildings include the birthdays of the Queen and Prince Philip, their wedding anniversary, the birthdays of their four children and of their grandson Prince William and his wife Kate.
The Duke of York denies that he had sex with 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre, who was procured by Epstein. Epstein, a multi-millionaire who loaned considerable sums of money to Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, was found dead in prison last August last year while awaiting charges of trafficking minors.
A prosecutor in the United States said last month Andrew had provided “zero co-operation” to the investigation into Epstein’s activities.
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