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Prince Andrew to keep taxpayer-funded bodyguards after Queen’s intervention

The Queen has ruled Prince Andrew can keep his $500k-a-year bodyguards, following a bombshell move by the US Department of Justice to summon him for questioning over his links to billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The three-member security team were set to be stripped from the Duke of York last Monday, after a review was ordered into his security earlier this year.

“A review was ordered into the Met’s (Metropolitan Police) protection of HRH The Duke of York once it was announced he was stepping down from royal duties in November,” a senior source told the Evening Standardat the time.

“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.”

The bodyguards are thought to cost about $182,000 in taxpayer funds each year, according to The Sun, in wages, flights, perks and hotels.

The proposed cuts were also set to impact Princess Anne, and Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex and their families.

“The Queen’s children all lobbied her but Andrew has been the most persuasive,” a royal source told the publication.

“She has made it clear that she was not happy with the proposal. It has been stopped and will be reviewed over the next few weeks.”

Member of antimonarchy group Republic, Graham Smith, told The Sun that the Queen’s decision to keep the Duke of York’s security team on, despite effectively quitting royal duties, was “unacceptable”.

“If Andrew is not performing public duties, there is no reason to employ security. He can privately pay for any security he wants,” Mr Smith said.

“If the Home Office and police have looked at the risk and judged that he does not warrant round-the-clock security then it is appropriate.

“To have another look at it due to pressure from the Queen is unacceptable.”

A spokesman for the Royal Family said they wouldn’t comment on “matters of security or provide guidance”.

“Public-funded security policy remains a matter for the well-established independent processes that decide these matters.”

The disgraced 60-year-old stepped back from frontline royal duties last November over his links to Epstein, a convicted sex offender, following a “car-crash” BBC interview with Emily Maitlis.

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