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As we saw a few days ago, Prince Andrew (the Duke of York) was one of the Queen’s first guests at Balmoral. Andrew arrived in Balmoral last week, days before Jeffrey Epstein’s mysterious death. Sarah Ferguson was there too, but Fergie high-tailed it out of there when Prince Philip suddenly arrived days ahead of schedule. The Queen allows Fergie to be around, but Philip still hates Fergie’s guts. Andrew escorted his mother to church on Sunday, the day after Epstein’s body had been found in his jail cell. Andrew and the Queen were both smiling brightly, like they had both escaped some big scandal. But maybe someone told Andrew that the smiley photo-op didn’t do what it was supposed to, because it looks like Andrew has made a swift exit from Scotland now too:

Prince Andrew has been pictured boarding a private jet after allegedly cutting short his trip to Balmoral Castle in Scotland where the Royal Family has gathered. The 59-year-old Duke of York was snapped dressed in a smart suit getting out of a dark green Range Rover and climbing the steps into the aircraft in Aberdeen this morning. He appeared to be holding a hat and what looked like a white dressing gown. Several bags were loaded into the aircraft, while a dog was also seen being carried on board.

The Duke’s departure from Scotland comes days after he was seen grinning as he headed to church with the Queen. The unified outing also came as questions mounted about his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who was found hanged in his jail cell on Saturday. It is understood Andrew was due to spend the whole week at the castle after being invited by his mother.

A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace told Mirror Online they “do not comment on private movements in holiday time”.

His departure also comes days after his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was forced to leave Balmoral after Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, turned up early for his summer holiday, it was claimed. An insider told The Sun: “In previous years the Duchess has left the day before the Queen’s husband arrives. This year he arrived yesterday, several days earlier than expected, which is rather strange, so the Duchess left.”

[From The Daily Mirror]

Did the Duke only intend to stay for a week, or did he really cut his trip short? Honestly, the optics for the royal family would be better if it did look like Andrew cut his trip short. Then we could have the narrative of “the Queen understands how bad this sh-t looks and so she sent him away.” Because right now, none of it looks good for the old-guard people. The Queen looked so out of touch with that church photo-op, and the fact that few of the British papers are really going IN on the Duke of York says a lot. It says that the Queen and her courtiers are doing the most to shut down the worst stories. It says that the Queen and her courtiers will go the extra mile to protect a statutory rapist and sexual assailant but they won’t lift a finger to even be SEEN protecting a young woman of color who has been bullied and harassed for more than a year.

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Photos courtesy of Getty.