King Charles has reportedly offered an ‘olive branch’ to his disgraced brother Prince Andrew by inviting him and the Duchess of York to Balmoral.
The Duke is the first family member to join the King at the Highlands castle in a move royal insiders said showed relations between the two have improved.
Charles was reportedly joined by the Duke and his ex-wife Sarah, the Duchess of York, who is recovering from a breast cancer operation over the weekend.
Andrew, 63, drove himself to the 50,000-acre estate on Royal Deeside before later being accompanied by Sarah, who flew to Aberdeen. The pair are staying at the seven-bedroom Craigowan Lodge on the estate – favoured by the late Queen.
A royal insider insisted it was ‘not a snub’ the pair were staying at the lodge instead of the main house, telling the Express: ‘The King and Andrew are now on much better terms and making him the first member of the family to join him is an olive branch.’
The apparent peace offering came as Prince Andrew appeared to have won his battle to remain in the seven-bedroom Royal Lodge in Windsor.
The King had been attempting to persuade his brother to move into the vacant Frogmore Cottage – the former home of Prince Harry and Meghan.
Charles wanted Andrew to leave the 30-room mansion, where he lives with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, and downsize to the Sussexes’ old home.
But the King does not have the power to force out Andrew from the £30million Royal Lodge – with royal insiders claiming the plan to move the Duke out have now been shelved.
The news comes as insiders claimed Charles did not want his brother to ‘come out of the freezer’ amid fears from royal aides there are still ‘unexploded bombs’ over the Duke of York’s links to paedophile Jeffery Epstein.
Royal insiders are concerned the Duke is ‘more of a long-term problem’ than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The late Queen Elizabeth II stripped her son of all of his royal patronages and military roles in January 2022 when he was also stopped from using HRH in any official capacity.
But his friendship with Epstein is causing the most worry for aides, with His Majesty not wanting his brother to ‘come out of the freezer’.
A royal source told The Times: ‘Andrew is more of a long-term problem than Harry and Meghan. It feels like more stuff is going to come out on Epstein and there are still unexploded bombs there.’
Epstein served almost 13 months in jail in 2008 after he was convicted of procuring a child for pr****tution and s**ually abusing a 14-year-old girl.
But Andrew continued his friendship with the offender after his release.
He told the BBC in 2019 that his relationship with Epstein and the opportunities he had been given were ‘very useful’ and said he didn’t recall the photo where he is seen with his arm around Virginia Roberts – now known as Virginia Giuffre – ‘ever having been taken’.
Jeffrey Epstein took his own life while in jail in 2019.
Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, who was also a friend of Andrew’s and appears in the background of the photo of him and Ms. Giuffre – is serving 20 years in prison for sex trafficking.
Meanwhile, a friend of the King’s believes the fallout with Prince Harry has ‘humanised’ him and he has been ‘reassured’ by ‘the side the public has come down on’.
The friend told The Times: ‘He has done the right thing to rise above it and carry on with the work of the monarchy, which provides a welcome and stark contrast to what happens on the west coast of America.
‘It’s all very sad, but it also mirrors what happens in a lot of families, so it humanises him.’