Prince Andrew being stripped of his duties is a royal upheaval not seen since Edward VIII's abdication in 1936
King Edward VIII, also called the Prince of Wales, ascended the throne after George V's death in 1931. But he fell in love with American socialite Wallis Simpson, who was a divorcee. He wanted to marry her, but it was forbidden and he abdicated, taking on the title of Duke of Windsor.
Prince Andrew's bombshell BBC interview caused quite an uproar - so much so that he had to step down from his royal duties, something that hasn't happened in more than eight decades. This is the biggest royal upheaval since the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936, royal experts say.
King Edward VIII, also called the Prince of Wales, ascended the throne after George V's death in 1931. But he fell in love with American socialite Wallis Simpson, who was a divorcee. He wanted to marry her, but it was forbidden and he abdicated, taking on the title of Duke of Windsor. At the time, he had reportedly said, "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love."
Speaking to Mail Online, social historian Professor Judith Rowbotham found that there were "plenty of parallels" that could be drawn between Duke of Windsor and Duke of York. "I suppose the nearest would be the Duke of Windsor in some way. I'm far from surprised because the Duke of York was ill-advised to undertake the interview", she said, "I don't think it's a monarchy in crisis. Even with a slimmed-down monarchy, you have a large royal family, humanly speaking somebody is always going to do something that gets well and truly disapproved of", she said, "It could have escalated into a more major crisis if the Duke of York had not done the honourable thing."
Rowbotham was of the opinion that the 2019 troubles that the Queen along with Duke and Duchess of Sussex have faced are not as bad as the Queen's annus horribilis of 1992. Queen Elizabeth II in a speech to Guildhall on 24 November 1992, marking the 40th anniversary of her accession, had said, "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis."
"Back in 1992, it was an annus horribilis. This has been a 'few weeks horribilis'," Professor Rowbotham said, adding that Prince Andrew stepping down would bring "great sadness" to the Queen. 1992 was indeed a tough year. Prince Andrew had split from Sarah, the Duchess of York, in March, her daughter Princess Anne, Princess Royal, had split from Captain Mark Phillips in April, the same month her nephew Prince Albrecht of Hohenlohe-Langenburg had passed away.
The revelation of Princess Diana's marital troubles with Prince Charles and the affair with Camila Parker Bowles was ushered in by the tell-all book about Princess Diana as well as Duchess of York's topless sunbathing photos with John Bryan were out. August brought with it the expose of phone recordings containing intimate details between Diana and James Gilbey and there was a fire at the Windsor Castle in November.
Royal author Penny Junor also told the publication that it was a shocker. "I would think the Queen is horrified. It was inevitable and it was the right thing to do. It was the only course of action for the duke and the royal family. It's probably averted a crisis, with all the events of the last year put together, I think the monarchy is going through very difficult time... I think it's been a disastrous year."
She also, however, mentioned that the situation with Andrew was a bit different than King Edward VIII. "The Duke of Windsor chose love over duty and couldn't do both and decided to go off and marry and abdicate the crown. But Andrew has really been forced out. It's been forced on him by the huge outcry from the public. The public was very, very disappointed in him", she said. His reputation is now forever stained, said Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty, "He can't be exonerated because we know he was involved with Epstein. I'm afraid this might forever be hanging over him. I think it's sad that it's ever, ever had to come to this and people's sympathies will be with the Queen and Andrew's family more than with Andrew himself."