The Prince Andrew crisis is deepening as questions are being asked about what the Queen knew about the actions of her reportedly favourite son.

Previously unassailable, apart from a slight hiccup after Princess Diana died, the British monarch is considered above criticism due to her mostly excellent judgment over a long and glorious reign.

But as Channel 10's London correspondent Lucy MacDonald told The Project tonight: "There's great sympathy for the Queen but at the same time people are starting to ask questions about how much she knew.

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"We have seen Andrew cut off and Prince Charles is apparently planning to trim the royal family even further when he becomes King."

The Queen's closeness to her second son, who was for a time second in line to the throne, is well-recorded and speculation is growing as to what he may have confided in her.

What for example did they discuss when, in the wake of Prince Andrew's car-crash BBC interview, her Majesty went riding with him as a show of support?

Now, a Panorama interview given by Virginia Giuffre has given fresh oxygen to the allegations against the Prince.

It's questioned what the Queen knew about her son's involvement with Epstein. Photo / Getty
It's questioned what the Queen knew about her son's involvement with Epstein. Photo / Getty

Then known as Virginia Roberts, Ms Giuffre says she was trafficked by convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and made to have sex with Prince Andrew three times in 2001 and 2002 when she was 17 years old.

The Panorama interview included reports of a leaked 2015 email Prince Andrew sent to so-called Jeffrey Epstein "madam" Ghislaine Maxwell, demanding she let him know "when we can talk … about Virginia Roberts".

Both Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell have denied any wrongdoing and Prince Andrew said he did not have sex with Virginia Roberts and has no recollection of meeting her.

However the allegations have raised questions about whether Prince Andrew's mess has begun to tarnish the wider royal brand.

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The Queen knows from experience that the adoring public can turn when the monarchy's response is not in step with public opinion.

In 1997 after Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in a Paris tunnel, the Queen stayed up in Scotland and did not emerge to console her public.

And as the flower and cellophane mountain grew outside Kensington Palace and Britain mourned the People's Princess, the tabloids began running front pages about her lack of feeling. Days later, she finally came back down to London.

In the streets, crowds gathering in the lead-up to Princess Diana's funeral bemoaned their monarch's apparent coldness. The Queen eventually emerged with the Duke of Edinburgh to mourn Diana in public.

Giuffre speaks to BBC's Panorama. Photo / BBC
Giuffre speaks to BBC's Panorama. Photo / BBC

In her Panorama interview, Virginia Giuffre appealed to the British public to support her against the "untouchable" prince.

"I implore the citizens in the UK to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being okay," she said.

With Prince Andrew already having stepped back from royal life for the forseeable future, it's conceivable that the monarch may be forced to permanently cut him adrift from life as a working royal.