Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves after speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok on November 3, 2019, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP) (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)
Accuser Virginia Giuffre speaks out about UK's Prince Andrew (December, 2019)
02:42 - Source: CNN
London CNN  — 

The UK government is reviewing its policy on how to mark royal birthdays after cities reacted with anger to an instruction to fly a Union flag on the 60th birthday of Prince Andrew – issued despite allegations surrounding his relationship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson confirmed to reporters on Thursday that an email was sent to local councils by a civil servant reminding them to honor the Duke of York’s birthday on February 19, as per its policy.

But the proposal has been criticized and the government now says it is looking again at the policy.

“We’re not flying the flag,” a spokesperson for Liverpool Council told CNN. The city’s mayor Joe Anderson added to the Liverpool Echo newspaper: “When you look at his behavior – it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to mark his birthday.”

Johnson’s spokesperson said it was “an administrative email about long-standing policy,” PA Media news agency reports.

“I understand DCMS (the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) and the Royal Household are considering how the policy applies in changing circumstances such as when members of the royal family step back from their duties,” the spokesperson told reporters.

The instruction was made in the wake of allegations that Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of several women who accused Epstein of sex crimes, was forced to perform sex acts with Prince Andrew when she was 17 years old.

The Duke of York is also still reeling from the fallout of a disastrous BBC TV interview about the allegations – for which he received near-universal condemnation. Prince Andrew denies the allegations.

Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties in November after a wave of criticism over the “Newsnight” interview.

Labour MP Wes Streeting told The Sun the move to fly a flag would be “wholly inappropriate” and “should be knocked on the head immediately.”