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Despite many organizations and institutions distancing themselves from a disgraced Prince Andrew after his disastrous interview with the BBC–discussing his relationship with the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein–the National Post reported he will still keep his Canadian military appointments.
The step away from public life may come as no surprise, however, the Prince maintains certain roles and appointments that are somewhat tricky to get out of.
“As is the custom, the Duke of York holds honorary title of Colonel-in-Chief of The Princess of Louise Fusiliers, The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada and Queen’s York Rangers,” Department of National Defence (DND) specialist Jessice Lamirande to the National Post.
The National Post questioned the DND for a week before they were even willing to confirm just what roles the now disgraced Prince held.
The questions surrounding Prince Andrew’s removal from these appointments have left the Canadian Armed Forces and the government puzzled.
“This has never happened before,” said one government source to the National Post.
A Royal spokesperson previously released a statement that he would be stepping away from public duties: “The Duke has stepped back for the time being and will not be undertaking any public duties on behalf of his Patronages or associations.”
This statement has put the Canadian military in a quagmire. The role of Colonel-in-Chief is not just a symbolic one, it does involve some active duties. If the Canadian government wanted to rescind Prince Andrew’s appointments themselves, there is no set of procedures in place that would even necessarily allow them to do so. The various regiments of the Commonwealth can only be appointed a Colonel-in-Chief by the Queen herself, and once appointed there is an expectation to fulfill role until death or a formal retirement from public life.
“The position of Colonel-in Chief is a symbol of a direct relationship between the Sovereign and the members of that regiment,” said Richard Berthelsen, who specializes in the Crown’s relationship to Canada. “It’s not like a patronage. It has a much deeper meaning. It is something that is official and is recognized in the Canadian Forces as having significant importance to history and heritage of that unit.”
“There is nothing stopping a prime minister from making a recommendation, a very strong recommendation, I suppose,” Toffoli told the National Post earlier this week.
The November BBC interview that the Duke of York was hoping would clear his name was generally considered a disaster, leaving many people and organizations scrambling to cut ties with the Prince. Prince Andrew’s own mother, Queen Elizabeth II, even went so far as to cancel her son’s upcoming 60th birthday party.