Royals celebrate Prince Andrew amid Epstein scandal

The Duke of York turned 60 on Wednesday

Members of the British royal family have put aside the controversy surrounding Prince Andrew to wish the queen’s second son a happy birthday, social media shows.

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The Duke of York turned 60 on Wednesday following several months of public scandal connected to his longtime friendship with previously convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died in August while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking of a minor and conspiracy.

Despite the months of unfavorable headlines, Andrew's ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, and reps from the Royal Family shared photos to Instagram and along with well-wishes.

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Despite tradition, the Union flag will not be flown at government buildings and Andrew has deferred plans to be promoted to Admiral, an event that was originally scheduled for Wednesday, according to BBC and the Daily Mail.

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The family is expected to keep away from the spotlight for Andrew’s birthday and opted for a private dinner at the duke’s Windsor Great Park home, rather than a party at Buckingham Palace, the Mail reported.

Andrew, who is eighth in line for the throne, announced in November he would be stepping "back from public duties for the foreseeable future.”

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"It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work," he wrote, in part. He added: "I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein."

Epstein and Andrew were reportedly friends for more than a decade but their relationship soured after their photograph was blasted on the front page of the New York Post in February 2011, CNN reported, citing three sources with direct knowledge.

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New York Post front page, Feb. 21, 2011. (New York Post, FILE)

The duke has also been linked to one of Epstein's alleged sex slaves, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who said she was forced to have sex with him in March 2001, when she was only 17.

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"Ghislaine tells me that I have to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey and that made me sick," Giuffre told BBC's "Panorama" during a December interview, later adding: "Well there was a bath and it started there and then it led into the bedroom and it didn't last very long, the whole, entire procedure. It was disgusting. He wasn't mean or anything but he got up and said, 'Thanks.' "

Photo from 2001, which was included in court files, shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre.

Andrew has repeatedly denied the allegations.

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Epstein was arrested in July 2019 on charges of sex trafficking of a minor and conspiracy, but his criminal case was dismissed weeks later when he was found dead in his federal jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.

In January, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman told reporters federal prosecutors have not heard back from Andrew, and despite their request to interview him, the duke has "provided zero cooperation" in their efforts, Berman said, at a news conference outside Epstein’s New York mansion.

Prince Andrew, Duke Of York and Jeffrey Epstein (far right) in an undated photo. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Andrew had previously suggested he would be willing to cooperate with the investigation.

Within 24 hours of Berman's revelation, British Metropolitan Police Service, known as the Met or Scotland Yard and responsible for providing protection to the royal family, confirmed to The Sun it had re-opened its investigation into the embattled royal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.