Prince Charles is gearing up for a showdown with his younger brother, Prince Andrew, as the Duke of York faces yet another humiliating blow.

The Prince of Wales is flying back to the United Kingdom after wrapping up his tour of New Zealand and the South Pacific in the Solomon Islands on Monday.

He is reportedly furious that his brother's disastrous BBC interview overshadowed the royal tour, and is planning to give the Duke a dressing down when he arrives on Tuesday (UK time), reports news.com.au.

Prince Charles visited NZ on his recent tour. Photo / Getty
Prince Charles visited NZ on his recent tour. Photo / Getty

On Sunday, Buckingham Palace confirmed Prince Andrew would be "standing back" from all his patronages as well as his royal duties as he continues to face questions about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

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"The Duke has over 230 patronages. He will be stepping back from public duty and temporarily standing back from all his patronages," a spokeswoman told the PA news agency.

But he will continue to work on his Pitch@Palace program – the program designed to help young entrepreneurs that was dropped by several Australian universities last week – she said.

Prince Andrew is facing a firestorm of criticism over his friendship with Epstein. Photo / AP
Prince Andrew is facing a firestorm of criticism over his friendship with Epstein. Photo / AP

"(The Duke) will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of Buckingham Palace. We recognise there will be a period of time while this transition takes place," the spokeswoman said.

Queen cancels birthday bash

It comes after a humiliating week for Prince Andrew in which the backlash from his Newsnight interview reached a crescendo that saw him forced to step down from royal duties for the "forseeable future".

The Queen is said to be quietly standing by her son, with the two spotted horseriding together in Windsor last week.

But in another embarrassing blow for the Duke, she has cancelled his 60th birthday party, which she planned to host on February 19 next year.

When Prince Charles turned 60 in 2008, he was given a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park and a party with more than 400 guests including European royalty and members of his charity.

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But Prince Andrew will now be given just a private family dinner, according to local media.

Family damaged by scandal

The latest government stats show just six per cent of British people believe Prince Andrew is telling the truth about Epstein.

A whopping 47 per cent also believe the scandal has damaged the monarchy as a whole.

He said he had
He said he had "let the side down" by staying at his home. Photo / BBC

The Duke told BBC Newsnight he was primarily friends with Epstein because the financier was dating his friend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

"It was his girlfriend that was the key element in this … he was the, as it were, plus one," he said.

But Ms Maxwell, who is accused of being Epstein's "madam", has been entirely absent from the scandal so far.

Prince Andrew said he last saw her earlier this year when she was in the UK for "some rally" but the two did not discuss Epstein.

"There wasn't anything to discuss about him because he wasn't in the news, you know, it was just … we had moved on," he said.

Sources say Ms Maxwell is now planning to come out of hiding and defend both herself and the Prince against the allegations.

Ghislaine Maxwell is the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein. Photo / Getty
Ghislaine Maxwell is the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein. Photo / Getty

A US source close to her lawyers told The Sun she was preparing to speak within days, either by talking to the FBI or giving a statement to the media.

"She has to defend herself. She has no option. She will have to address this guilt by association," they said.

The royal family is also bracing for a subpoena, which will ask Prince Andrew to give evidence about his ties to Epstein under oath.