Prince Andrew is marking his 60th birthday today, and the royals' official social media accounts posted a message of good wishes in celebration, as they have in the past. But this year, the message was a little different.
As the blog Gert's Royals pointed out on Twitter, in 2018 and 2019, the royal family account simply wrote "Happy Birthday to HRH The Duke of York!" This year, however, the message read: "On this day in 1960, Prince Andrew was born at Buckingham Palace, the first child born to a reigning monarch for 103 years. Happy Birthday to The Duke of York."
Not only is this birthday tweet more reserved in tone—and more focused on the Queen—but it omits a key three letters: HRH.
This year vs. 2019 & 2018— Gert's Royals (@Gertsroyals) February 19, 2020
I notice they didn’t refer to Prince Andrew as “HRH” this year. pic.twitter.com/VEwcsLLOfe
After Prince Andrew stepped down from his royal duties this past fall amid an outcry over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre's allegations against him, it was understood that he would keep the his Royal Highness status. As recently as January 19, the Guardian confirmed the same. The royal family's account forgoing the HRH doesn't necessarily mean that anything has changed in this regard, but it's a noticeable decision nonetheless.
Royal watchers may also be tempted compare the ongoing interest in Andrew's HRH status to that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who saw their title styling change after their decision to step back from their roles as senior royals. Buckingham Palace announced in January that the Duke and Duchess "will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family."
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