Prince Andrew has quit his royal duties, effective immediately, amid mounting backlash over his disastrous interview with the BBC.
In an explosive statement, he claimed to have independently decided to "step back" from the limelight – but royal sources are painting a very different picture from behind the scenes.
The Duke of York has become embroiled in a PR nightmare over his bizarre explanations for controversial links to disgraced paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and for failing to express any sympathy for his victims in the BBC interview, news.com.au reports.
The Queen may have ultimately made the tough call to force him out, but she certainly wasn't standing alone.
While physically absent from the high-level crisis talks on Wednesday, there was another figure who played a central role in deciding Prince Andrew's fate.
No doubt not only infuriated by the threat to the monarchy the scandal posed, but also the fact it was completely overshadowing his current royal tour of New Zealand, Prince Charles reportedly "lobbied intensely" for the Queen to strip Andrew of his duties, according to The Sun.
The Daily Mail reports that a devastated Andrew was then told he could write his own statement to allow him to "bow out gracefully" and try to save face.
"Charles was very involved in the decision as heir to the throne. He knew action had to be taken. The Duke knew he couldn't fight any more. His royal career is over," a senior Palace source told The Sun.
Multiple UK outlets are reporting that Prince Andrew was hoping to ride out the storm, but after more than 20 major companies and charities distanced themselves from his work in recent days, he was given no choice by his family.
After days of "ongoing discussions" with senior members of his family, an utterly defeated Prince Andrew was finally "summoned" to Buckingham Palace late on Wednesday by the Queen.
"It was a devastating moment for both of them. His reputation is in tatters," a source told The Sun.
A separate source added that despite putting on a brave face, the Queen was "privately very disappointed" with her favourite son following his explosive interview.
"She saw the fallout and was very unhappy. She has spent her whole life protecting the monarchy and in just one week her son's actions threatened to tear it apart," they said.
"Something had to be done to draw a line under all of this."
And Charles, it seems, was the one to pick up the pen.
The new era in the monarchy has never been more obvious than in the Prince of Wales' actions.
The Queen is now an elderly woman in the last years of her life, and her heir is waiting in the wings, about to step into the spotlight. Along with the throne, some posh new homes, and a significant sum of money, Charles is set to inherit the role of manager of the royal family's scandals.
He, arguably more than most, is invested in the outcome of Prince Andrew's current crisis.
As the scandal heats up, so too does the threat it poses to the very institution he's about to take over – so it's no wonder he's looking to clean out the house before he moves in.
As royal writer Christopher Anderson explained: "Charles does not want to inherit a crown that has been tarnished, scratched, and dented by a fresh round of scandals."
The whole Andrew/Epstein affair will also serve to fuel his long-held desire to streamline the monarchy, which has put his relatives' noises out of joint over the years.
In 2012, having recognised the dangers in the optics of an excess of fringe royal family members, Charles encouraged his mother to cut Andrew and his daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, from the Buckingham Palace balcony after the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations.
It's also understood Charles was very supportive of the Queen's decision to reject requests for "minor royals" such as Eugenie and Beatrice to receive a cut of the Sovereign Grant.
While the Queen has increasingly been passing on responsibilities to Charles in recent months, his role in forcing Andrew to take such an unprecedented and explosive step offers a real glimpse at the next chapter in royal history – one which isn't likely to involve his brother.
As a source told The Sun: "It's unlikely (Andrew) will ever perform royal duties again. He is disgraced."