The bells of London’s Westminster Abbey will ring out for Prince Andrew’s 60th birthday on Wednesday even though he has stepped down from public life following a backlash about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The birthdays of senior members of the royal family, including Andrew’s, are traditionally celebrated with bell ringing at the Abbey, the site of coronations, weddings, burials and for famous Britons. The bells will chime at 13:00 GMT.
“Westminster Abbey is a Royal Peculiar and the bells are rung for the birthdays of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh; their children; and TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children,” the Abbey said in a statement.
Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second son, stopped carrying out royal duties last year after an interview over his friendship with the late U.S. financier Epstein, who was found dead in prison last year while awaiting charges of trafficking minors.
Andrew has denied an accusation by a woman who said she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends, including the prince, when she was 17.
But there was a public outcry after he gave an interview, where he failed to adequately explain why he did not cut off ties with his friend earlier, or express much empathy with Epstein’s alleged victims.
A U.S. prosecutor said last month Andrew had provided “zero co-operation” to the investigation into Epstein’s activities.
Government buildings will no longer be required to fly the British national flag to mark Prince Andrew’s birthday, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said.
The buildings are usually required to fly the flag on the birthdays of the Queen, her husband the Duke of Edinburgh and their children.