Hampshire council unsure whether it will fly flag on Prince Andrew's birthday amid backlash

HAMPSHIRE council does not yet know if it will will fly the union flag to mark Prince Andrew's birthday this month after a government order faced public backlash.

Saturday, 8th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 5:20 pm
Prince Andrew, The Duke of York pictured opening a new education and resettlement centre for sailors at Portsmouth naval base in 2013. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13807-2)

The local authority said it was still 'awaiting national guidance' on protocol for February 19, which will be the Duke of York's 60th birthday.

It comes after an email from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government was circulated, reminding local councils to fly the flag on the occasion.

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However, this has faced criticism from many due to the prince's relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as well as allegations he slept with then-teenager Virginia Giuffre. He stepped down from royal duties in November last year.

A spokesman for Hampshire County Council said: 'We understand that local government can make its own decision on when to fly flags – but we are still awaiting national guidance on how this applies in changing circumstances, such as when members of the royal family step back from their duties.'

Councils in Portsmouth, Gosport and Fareham confirmed they would fly the union flag on February 19 - but only because they fly the flag every day of the year anyway.

A Portsmouth City Council spokesman said: 'The council has received government guidance on the designated days for flying the union flag in 2020.

'This doesn't impact on our practice in Portsmouth, as we fly the union flag from the Guildhall every day.'

Havant Borough Council did not confirm whether it would be flying the flag.