DISGRACED Prince Andrew decided to miss his own daughter’s engagement party in “fear of embarrassment or abuse” from celebrity attendees.
The Sun can reveal The Duke of York was planning to stay away from the star-studded bash for Princess Beatrice, which was due to be held in London.
It was a devastating blow for the embattled royal, who has been forced to step down from his royal duties because of allegations connected to his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
A source close to Andrew revealed: “This is a devastating blow for the Duke and a sign of just how bad things have got.
“The plan was always for him to attend Beatrice’s engagement party alongside Fergie. But things have just turned far more toxic.
“He agreed that he didn’t want to overshadow the event, especially seeing lots of celebrities and high profile people will be there and it could have put them in a difficult position.
“People close to him where also in fear of embarrassment or abuse which would have just been mortifying.”
The bash was rumoured to have taken place at showbiz hotspot Chiltern Firehouse to celebrate Beatrice’s engagement to property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, which was announced in September – just one month after Andrew’s peadophile pal Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his prison cell.
Since then, his relationship with the billionaire has come under further scrutiny following allegations by Virginia Roberts Guiffre that she was trafficked to the prince at age 17.
Andrew abandoned his royal duties following a disastrous Newsnight interview in November.
He said at the time: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.
“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”
Virginia has spoken out in support of Princess Eugenie and her sister Beatrice, accepting that they are “going through hell”.
She tweeted: “I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, I have no qualms with them.”
Royal courtiers have been discussing banning Andrew from attending church with the Queen at Sandringham on Christmas Day over fears his presence will attract sex abuse campaigners.
However, it has since been indicated that he will still be present.
He attended the Queen’s Christmas lunch on Wednesday with other senior members of the royal family, as well as a staff party at Buckingham Palace on Monday.