Prince Andrew has made secret late night visits to see The Queen as he hopes to return to public duty, according to reports.
The Duke of York stepped back from official duties amid public outcry over his friendship with the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein last year.
But he reportedly believes he can still help “support the monarchy” and go back to public duties – despite concerns from within the family.
And he is said to be meeting The Queen to allow her to return to duty.
Andrew reportedly met with Her Majesty last Tuesday, arriving after dark, in a coronavirus secure meeting.
A source told The Sun: “This looked like a deliberate attempt not to be seen.”
Despite his plans to return to his former role, royal sources said Prince Andrew has “zero chance” of that happening.
One source said: “Whatever the Duke (of York) may think his future looks like, he should be under no illusion that view is not shared by the people who actually make the decisions within the family.
“There is no way of him ever returning to front line duties and he will remain very much on the outside.”
The Queen is believed to be sympathetic to Andrew, 60, but the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are “united” in their view that Andrew should be kept away from any public role owing to his battered reputation.
The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are understood to be “completely dismayed” at Andrew’s initial decision to take part in his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview where “signed away his career”, sources revealed.
Andrew is alleged to have had sex on three occasions with a 17-year-old ‘sex slave’ of Epstein’s, Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts), who claims that both the billionaire and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, a long term of friend of Andrew’s, forced her into having relations with the royal.
The Queen’s son has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and claimed in his infamous BBC interview that he would assist investigators, although he is yet to do so.
Palace aides are said to welcome the duke’s private acceptance he cannot resume his previous position as a senior working royal, with one telling the Sunday Times: “There’s finally an acknowledgement that wasn’t there before”, but maintain there are “no plans to review” his status.
Andrew is continuing to work to clear his name and rehabilitate his image with the help of lawyers from the City firm Blackfords, Clare Montgomery QC and the PR specialist and crisis management expert Mark Gallagher.
But many in the royal household and beyond, including some of the near 200 charities and organisations he stepped down or was dumped from, believe his “toxic” presence is no longer helpful.
In July, he was absent from his daughter Princess Beatrice’s official wedding photographs released by Buckingham Palace and will not accompany other members of the royal family at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday commemorations next weekend.
His former friend Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the late disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell, is currently languishing in a New York jail on charges of facilitating underage girls for Epstein to abuse, heaping further pressure on Andrew who was named last week in unsealed court documents relating to the allegations.
A royal source said: “Andrew would do well to keep his head down while the rest of the family carries on with the business in hand.”