The Duke of York has been forced to step down from public duties due to his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, with one royal claiming it was another development in a “disastrous year” for the royal family.

Royal author Penny Junor told the PA news agency: “I would think the Queen is horrified … I think it’s been a disastrous year.”

But social historian Professor Judith Rowbotham said the difficulties the royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, had faced in 2019 were not as bad as the Queen’s annus horribilis of 1992.

“Back in 1992, it was an annus horribilis.

“This has been a ‘few weeks horribilis’,” she suggested.

Here, PA looks at the controversies that have dogged the royal family in 2019.

– Duke of Edinburgh car troubles, January 17

Duke of Edinburgh car crash
The Duke of Edinburgh, 97, was left ‘very shocked’ after hitting another car while driving (Steve Parsons/PA)

Philip apologises after a woman was injured in a car crash he was involved in near Sandringham in Norfolk.

He said he was “somewhat shaken after the accident” and wished the woman who was a passenger in a car hit by his Land Rover a “speedy recovery”.

– Hong Kong royal access, August 10

Zara Tindall MBE to become Cheltenham Racecourse director
A Chinese businessman said Zara Tindall was paid to make introductions for him (The Jockey Club/PA)

The Daily Mail reports the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by a Chinese businessman, who told the paper it was for her “to introduce a few people to me in Hong Kong”.

Sarah, the Duchess of York, was also found to be receiving payments from Johnny Hon’s firm.

– Sussexes versus the press, October 1

Royals at the Field of Remembrance
The Duchess of Sussex has had a difficult relationship with the UK media (PA)

The Duke of Sussex takes legal action against The Mail On Sunday and its publisher for “false” and “deliberately derogative” coverage of the Duchess of Sussex.

Harry says: “My wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences.”

– Brotherly rift, October 21

King Power Royal Charity Polo Day
The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex are on ‘different paths’, the latter said (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Harry tells an ITV documentary that he and the Duke of Cambridge “are certainly on different paths at the moment”, leading to talk that the siblings had suffered a falling out.

– Eyes on Andrew, November 21

The Duke of York gives an interview to BBC in which he is criticised for his apparent lack of empathy towards victims of Epstein.

Sponsors of the royal’s organisations and charities cut ties, leading Andrew to step away from public life.