Royal Family sends birthday messages to Prince Andrew

The Royal Family has wished Prince Andrew a happy birthday as he turns 60.

On Twitter and Instagram, the family’s official accounts marked the milestone birthday with photographs of the duke.

His former wife Sarah, the Duchess of York, also shared a message online wishing him a happy birthday. Her Instagram post was liked by their daughter Princess Eugenie, who shared her own message on Wednesday evening.

Eugenie posted a throwback picture of her on a horse smiling up at her dad, and said “Happy birthday, papa”.

Prince Andrew turns 60 on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

On the Royal Family accounts, alongside photos of Andrew as a baby and one more recent, the post 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.”

Royal watchers spotted that unlike in previous years, the message came without an “HRH” prefix to the Duke of York’s title. He has not been stripped of the royal highness title.

Sarah, the Duchess of York, shared a black and white picture of the duke smiling and looking out of a window in a casual setting with two dogs next to him on a sofa.

The couple have been divorced for more than 20 years but still live together. Sarah has been one of the duke’s biggest defenders in the scandal around his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The duke may be reaching a significant age today but his birthday celebrations will be low-key.

Buckingham Palace would not comment on them because they are private, but it is understood he will just have a small family dinner.

It is unclear whether his parents, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, will be there or if his brother Prince Charles will attend.

It’s thought he will be with his former wife and their daughters as well as some friends in their home in Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park. The Queen travelled back to London on Tuesday from Windsor.

On Tuesday evening the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed it would not be mandatory for government buildings to fly the Union flag to mark his birthday.

However, many fly the flag all year, so the move makes little difference. Local authorities have discretion to choose when to fly it.

The Queen's birthday message was posted on social media. (Getty Images)

The bells of Westminster Abbey will still ring out for the duke’s birthday, as it’s a royal peculiar and so falls under the monarch and not the bishop.

The abbey also rings the bells for the Queen’s birthday, as well as that of the Duke of Edinburgh, their children, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.

Prince Andrew has also deferred his promotion to Admiral, which he would have received to mark his birthday.

He stepped back from royal duties in November after an interview with BBC Newsnight in which he said he did not regret his friendship with Epstein, who went on to take his own life while awaiting trial in prison.

The duke deferred his promotion to admiral. (Getty Images)

In a statement, Andrew said the association was a major disruption to the family’s work.

He was seen with the Queen at church near Sandringham shortly after a deal was struck between the Queen and Harry and Meghan allowing them to step back from senior duties of the Royal Family.