DAN WOOTTON: Tragic that the Queen cannot escape the consequences of Harry and Andrew’s bad choices

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Prince Philip proudly served as Captain General of the Royal Marines for 64 years.

Prince Harry only lasted 26 months in the role, which he accepted after Philip retired in 2017, before moving to California and accusing the royal family of racism while his grandfather was in the hospital fighting for life.

Prince Andrew’s despicable refusal to assist the FBI in their investigation of his pedophile best friend Jeffrey Epstein rightly saw the military walk a mile from his ongoing involvement.

After overwhelming pressure, he reluctantly agreed to postpone an honorary promotion from the Navy to Admiral that he would receive when he turned 60.

But this week, he demanded to wear the Admiral uniform at his father’s funeral anyway, leaving the prospect of civilian Harry being the only older member of the family in a peat suit.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Harry watch the past from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Color, Queen Elizabeth II's birthday parade on 14 June 2014

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Harry watch the past from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Color, Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday parade on 14 June 2014

I’m not going to compare Harry and Andrew’s predicament for a second – they are clearly very different.

But the decisions made by both exiled princes have very clear consequences.

One such consequence is the right to participate in major state and family events in military uniform.

It may not matter to you or me. Who cares what the male royals wear at Philips funeral?

But to the late Duke of Edinburgh, whose life was guided by the importance of his military experience during World War II as a member of our greatest generation, it would have been of the utmost importance.

Prince Andrew in ceremonial dress during a centenary service of the RAF in London on July 10, 2018

Prince Harry visits Royal Albert Hall with Meghan in his gown as Captain General of the Royal Marines on March 7, 2020

Prince Andrew in ceremonial attire at a RAF centenary service in London on 10 July 2018 (left); and Prince Harry attend Royal Albert Hall with Meghan in his gown as Captain General of the Royal Marines on March 7, 2020 (right)

Prince Harry walks with his best man, the Duke of Cambridge, as he arrives at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle for his wedding to Meghan Markle, 19 May 2018

Prince Harry walks with his best man, the Duke of Cambridge, as he arrives at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle for his wedding to Meghan Markle, 19 May 2018

So the decision for all royals – including Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince William – to wear suits instead of their military attire on Saturdays stinks of heaven.

Andrew and Harry’s selfish, selfish and ‘me me me’ views have forced the Queen to abandon the royal tradition at a time when she needs this kind of nonsense to deal with the least.

Again, the bad behavior of his offspring overshadows Prince Philip’s exemplary service and puts unnecessary pressure on his grieving widow, who, despite her boisterous appearance, is herself.

It is indicative of the current awakened culture that the conclusion is that the rules need to be changed to spare Harry’s blush and Andrew’s gigantic ego.

The royal couple who have made the nation proud this week is Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Wessex, whose reassuring public statements and unshakable support for the Queen’s private tone took place.

Looking at Sophie, a former public relations manager going through her own bumpy entrance into the royal family, I wondered how much better it would have been if Meghan had followed her path.

Dan Wootton

Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew’s despicable refusal to assist the FBI in their investigation of his pedophile best friend Jeffrey Epstein rightly saw the military running a mile from his ongoing involvement, says DAN WOOTTON (left)

Instead, Harry and Meghan have to live with their decision to throw their flesh and blood under the bus at Oprah Winfrey.

Sources close to the pair reportedly told Heat Magazine this week their regrets over the timing of the interview, saying the Sussex’s wish it could have been different.

Well, I’m afraid to say it’s way too little too late for thoughts like that. After all, they went on to have such an incendiary chat with their eyes wide open.

Harry and Meghan were warned of the pressure to put the Queen and Philip through such professional and personal trauma as the Duke fought his ill health.

Despite allegations to the contrary, the interview took place AFTER Philip was hospitalized.

Meghan tried to justify the decision by telling Oprah in the chicken coop that she had tried to call the queen right after learning the news.

Her friend Oprah never asked the obvious follow-up question of whether Her Majesty answered the phone and whether they had asked for her permission to proceed with the bombshell interview. That is highly unlikely.

The moment he found out his grandfather had been hospitalized, Harry should have immediately called Oprah and postponed the interview.

But the couple’s mischievous desire to unleash their bomb at the same time as they revealed the gender of their unborn baby surpassed what was the right and proper thing to do.

The Duke of York, Prince of Wales, Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne and the Earl of Wessex follow the Queen Mother's coffin from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey in 2002

The Duke of York, Prince of Wales, Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne and the Earl of Wessex follow the Queen Mother’s coffin from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey in 2002

They will have to live with their decision and while I naturally sympathize with Harry for the loss of a dear grandfather, he cannot rewrite history.

Speaking of a desperate attempt to change the story, Monday I revealed on MailOnline how Andrew hopes his resurgence to publicly mark his father’s death will help change public opinion and provide a way back to royal duties.

But, as usual, his arrogance over the demand to wear the Admiral uniform that has not been granted to him, first revealed by the Royal Editor of the Daily Mail, Rebecca English, shows just how delusional he really is.

Andrew’s fumbling on the camera interview on Sunday was another misstep. Why not pay tribute on paper just like Princess Anne, Prince William and even his daughter Princess Eugenie?

Until the disgraced Duke of York agrees to sit down with US law enforcement, as he has falsely promised for years, and tell them EVERYTHING he knows about Epstein that he should be banned from public life.

So on Saturday we’ll see a family try to put aside their significant differences to rally around the queen.

But make no mistake, crisis and bitterness bubble just below the service.

Meghan and Harry want revenge for what they see as their mistreatment and will not rest until they believe justice has been served.

Andrew wants to be back in the spotlight, even with Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial on the doorstep, and there are only so many courtiers’ royal who can do to stop him.

What a great shame to the Queen that she no longer has her stone to bang a few heads together and tell her wayward relatives to find out before doing any lasting damage to the monarchy.

It’s a shame that the needs of FBI evasive Andrew and grumpy Harry threaten to overshadow Prince Philip’s life.