The Duke of York has been forced to step down from public duties due to his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, with one royal claiming it was another development in a “disastrous year” for the royal family.
Royal author Penny Junor told the PA news agency: “I would think the Queen is horrified … I think it’s been a disastrous year.”
But social historian Professor Judith Rowbotham said the difficulties the royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, had faced in 2019 were not as bad as the Queen’s annus horribilis of 1992.
“Back in 1992, it was an annus horribilis.
“This has been a ‘few weeks horribilis’,” she suggested.
Here, PA looks at the controversies that have dogged the royal family in 2019.
– Duke of Edinburgh car troubles, January 17
Philip apologises after a woman was injured in a car crash he was involved in near Sandringham in Norfolk.
He said he was “somewhat shaken after the accident” and wished the woman who was a passenger in a car hit by his Land Rover a “speedy recovery”.
– Hong Kong royal access, August 10
The Daily Mail reports the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by a Chinese businessman, who told the paper it was for her “to introduce a few people to me in Hong Kong”.
Sarah, the Duchess of York, was also found to be receiving payments from Johnny Hon’s firm.
– Sussexes versus the press, October 1
The Duke of Sussex takes legal action against The Mail On Sunday and its publisher for “false” and “deliberately derogative” coverage of the Duchess of Sussex.
Harry says: “My wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences.”
– Brotherly rift, October 21
Harry tells an ITV documentary that he and the Duke of Cambridge “are certainly on different paths at the moment”, leading to talk that the siblings had suffered a falling out.
– Eyes on Andrew, November 21
A statement by His Royal Highness The Duke of York KG. pic.twitter.com/LfMFwMyhcb
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 20, 2019
The Duke of York gives an interview to BBC in which he is criticised for his apparent lack of empathy towards victims of Epstein.
Sponsors of the royal’s organisations and charities cut ties, leading Andrew to step away from public life.