Queen Elizabeth II has come under heavy criticism amid reports that she is allowing her son Prince Andrew to keep his military titles despite the sexual abuse allegations against him.

Prince Andrew, who had quit as a senior royal in 2019 due to uproar over his involvement with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, faced a fresh scandal in connection with the matter earlier this month. Epstein's accuser Virginia Giuffre filed a case against the British royal on the grounds that she was forced to have sex with him when she was a minor.

However, the British monarch still wants her second son to remain a colonel in the Grenadier Guards, a top military post that he had inherited from his late father Prince Philip. A senior military source told The Sunday Times about the situation, "The Queen has let it be known to the regiment that she wants the Duke of York to remain as colonel, and the feeling is that nobody wants to do anything that could cause upset to the colonel-in-chief."

The insider described it as a "very difficult, unsatisfactory situation," noting that the monarch's decision doesn't have the support of the British Army either. "His position is not tenable or viable. How can you have a colonel who can't perform the role?" the source explained, adding that the feeling across the regiment is that it is "not appropriate" to retain him, and senior defence chiefs believe he "should go."

The Duke of York, who has vehemently denied the allegations against him, has not been allowed to perform his military duties since his exit as a senior royal almost two years ago. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said about his military roles, "The Grenadiers and all the Duke's military appointments are in abeyance after he stepped back from royal duties for the foreseeable future in November 2019, this remains the situation."

The monarch, who had stripped her grandson Prince Harry of his military titles earlier this year over his decision to exit as a working royal and establish a financially independent career, is facing criticism on social media for not doing the same with her son despite his exit being so condemning contrary to Harry.

Meanwhile, author Liam Gilliver wrote for the Mirror that the monarch's move has proved that "royals are untouchable." "In light of the lawsuit, Andrew scurried to Balmoral to see how mummy could help and made sure this time his lips were sealed. Instead of condemning him for his lack of cooperation, the Queen reportedly showed alliance to her son and is now pushing for him to keep his prestigious military titles," he wrote.

"When your mummy's face is printed on the money in your bank, it's easy to dodge the law," Gilliver argued, noting that the palace is the "prison" for Andrew for now as the law states that no arrests can be made in the Queen's presence or within the surroundings of a royal palace.

"If the royal family wasn't completely irreproachable, Andrew wouldn't have even been granted the privilege of silence, never mind the legal loophole that could see him idling around a 52-bedroom mansion, polishing his golden medals," the writer said.

Prince Andrew's lawyers deny lack of cooperation
Prince Andrew in ceremonial uniform Photo: AFP / JOHN THYS