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Prince Andrew's role in 'palace coup' to oust Queen's closest ally over money

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Prince Andrew's role in 'palace coup' to oust Queen's closest ally over money

Prince Andrew is said to have had a role in getting Lord Christopher Geidt, the Queen's Private Secretary of 10 years, removed from his powerful position in Buckingham Palace after a row over expenditure erupted. Lord Geidt, who left his role at the heart of the Firm in 2017, floated the idea of having a more centralised monarchy, removing critical funding for figures like Andrew's daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. Lord Geidt had already removed 24-hour funding from the Duke of York's daughters, and controlled much of Andrew's expenses. After it emerged that the then-Prince Charles was unhappy with him, multiple reports claim that Andrew backed his older brother in seeing that the Queen's ally was removed.

Having taken on the role of King, Charles has been placed under the microscope after his first six months in charge. The monarch assumed the post following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on September 8 last year, ushering in a new era for the Royal Family.

But he has seen his authority rocked after Prince Harry, his son, released his bombshell memoir Spare, which detailed a number of claims against members of the Firm, including Prince William and Camilla, Queen consort.

According to royal author Andrew Lownie, who penned 2021's book Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the intensity of the backlash experienced by Charles and his family could have been lessened had Lord Geidt remained in his post, raising questions as to why he left his position six years ago.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Lownie said the monarchy would have reacted in the same way were Harry's book released while Her Majesty was alive.

 Prince Andrew and Christopher Geidt
Prince Andrew and Christopher Geidt© GETTY
 Christopher Geidt was the Queen's righthand man
Christopher Geidt was the Queen's righthand man© GETTY

But were Lord Geidt still employed by Buckingham Palace, Mr Lownie "didn't think the problem would have escalated" to such significant levels of public interest.

He placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Charles and Andrew, who he accused of removing Lord Geidt in a "palace coup" in 2017.

In 2017, a senior source told The Sun that Lord Geidt was "doomed" for wanting "slimmed down royals". The report suggests that Andrew backed Charles in his bid to remove the top aide from his post.

Royal historian Robert Lacey, author of 2020's book Battle of Brothers: William and Harry - The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, described the scenes as Lord Geidt's position became untenable. 

 Christopher Geidt alongside Catherine, Princess of Wales
Christopher Geidt alongside Catherine, Princess of Wales© GETTY

Mr Lacey wrote on his website that Lord Geidt had "infuriated" Charles during a speech, in which he announced in May 2017 to around 500 royal staff members that Prince Philip, the Queen's husband, was set to retire from public life.

The Private Secretary made a plea to the gathered employees to become more unified than ever in supporting Her Majesty, with Charles furious as he "envisioned enjoying more power in the aftermath of his father's departure, not less".

The author continued: "Charles found an ally in Andrew, whom Lord Geidt had forced to step down as UK trade ambassador in 2011 over his friendship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

"As private secretary, Geidt had also controlled Andrew's expenditure and he had blocked one too many helicopters and private jet excursions for the Prince's fancy. Andrew wasted no time joining Charles in his complaints to the Queen - 'Geidt has got to go,' was their combined message to their mother."  

Prince Andrew and King Charles III
Prince Andrew and King Charles III© GETTY

An insider from the time told the Daily Mirror how the Queen made "one of the most shameful, and, frankly, shabby decisions" of her reign in ordering Lord Geidt's removal, adding: "All [he] wanted was to have everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, but that is not Charles's agenda any more."

While Lord Geidt's removal may have come to the relief of Charles and Andrew, Prince William, heir to the throne, was furious, according to Valentine Low, a journalist and author of Courtiers, published last year.

William had hailed the former Private Secretary's work in modernising the monarchy, bringing the Firm closer together as a result. But he was "really angry about it... he just thought it was handled very unkindly for a man who was a pillar of the institution".

A source told the publication: "It just seemed like the wrong thing to do to unceremoniously chuck somebody out for a reason that had nothing to do with what was the core part of Christopher's job, which he was still doing really, really well.

"[Prince William] told Willy [Lord] Peel (Lord Geidt's replacement) how he felt about it, and particularly how he felt about the way in which it had been conducted, which he thought was very unkind."

Lord Geidt began working with the Royal Family in 2002 as an assistant private secretary, soon rising through the ranks to becoming the Queen's right-hand man in 2007.

He is often cited as being responsible for telling Her Majesty to get involved with the London 2012 Olympics skit, which saw her become a Bond girl.

Express.co.uk reached out to Lord Geidt but did not receive a response to a request for comment. 

Reference: Story by Clive Hammond

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