Why A Royal Expert Thinks Prince Andrew's COVID-19 News Is So Suspicious - Exclusive

What do Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew have in common? They are no longer working royals, of course, and as such, the trio was not invited to stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour event on Thursday (via Us Weekly). 

In a statement last month, the palace said, "After careful consideration, the Queen has decided this year's traditional trooping the colour balcony appearance on Thursday 2 June will be limited to Her Majesty and those members of the royal family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the Queen" (via The Guardian).

Royal fans got a chance to see Meghan standing on a balcony watching the parade from the Major General's Office (via People). Harry was also seen goofing around with Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips' kids.

But where was Prince Andrew? It turns out he is skipping all of the Platinum Jubilee events over the course of the weekend. And the reason behind the shocking decision is a doozy.

The mighty have certainly fallen

As a spokesperson for Prince Andrew announced Thursday about Friday's planned event, "After undertaking a routine test the duke has tested positive for COVID and with regret will no longer be attending tomorrow's service" (via The Guardian).

It's being widely reported that Andrew has been around the Queen recently, but not since he received a positive test result, which was discovered during routine testing. Of course, we hope the monarch's son is feeling well, but people are already questioning the timing of his diagnosis.

Let's take a quick trip back in time. Prince Andrew was of course invited to stand on the balcony at the last Trooping the Colour event in 2019 (via Harper's Bazaar). But since that time, he has lost his royal titles after he settled a sexual assault lawsuit with accuser Virginia Giuffre (via Forbes). In the high-profile case, she accused him of sexually abusing her on three separate occasions (via BBC).

Twitter questions the timing of Prince Andrew's COVID diagnosis

Since Prince Andrew not appearing alongside his family is obviously a huge humiliation, royal fans have begun speculating that he invented a COVID diagnosis to avoid looking like a fool at the events celebrating his mom's 70-year reign (via New York Post). 

Naysayers point out that for instance, he was out horseback riding Wednesday and spent the last few days with the Queen, who memorably noted that she struggled to recover from her own bout of the contagious illness back in February. Indeed, the 96-year-old admitted that having COVID left her "feeling very tired and exhausted."

With these facts in mind, Twitter didn't let Prince Andrew off easy, with one person saying, "Not sure anyone is buying this to be honest but either way I'm glad we won't be seeing him." And someone else tweeted, "I'd like to introduce the phrase 'As convenient as Prince Andrew's Covid test.'"

Now, as social media scratches their head, a royal expert is also speaking out about the timing of Andrew's announcement.

A royal expert senses a conspiracy

While Twitter wonders about the veracity of Prince Andrew's claim he has tested positive for COVID-19, royal expert Kinsey Schofield, author of "R is for Revenge Dress: A Princess Diana–Inspired Alphabet Book for Grown-Ups," talked to The List about Prince Andrew's COVID diagnosis falling precisely on the occasion that he would be required to take a step back from the rest of his family in a very public way.

She pointed out that another public figure, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was to lead the church service honoring Her Royal Majesty this weekend, had also shared his positive status this week and would not be participating as planned. "Days after the Archbishop — who is currently campaigning for us to forgive Andrew — also has COVID?" Schofield questioned.

Indeed, in a recent interview with ITV, Justin Welby said, "We all have to step back a bit, he is seeking to make amends and I think that's a very good thing." He also chastised the U.K. for being a very "unforgiving society."

Meanwhile, Schofield told The List about the Archbishop and Prince Andrew, "I'm not into conspiracies but awfully suspect that both men have COVID!" She went on to speculate, "Perhaps there was a secret strategy meeting on rehabbing his image? I don't know!"

Ultimately, if the health of Prince Andrew really is of concern, Schofield has bigger worries, reminding The List that he was in the Queen's presence within the last few days.