THE decision to keep shamed Prince Andrew as a Counsellor of State has been branded a “disgrace”.

Republican groups hit out at the Duke of York being able to continue in the top royal role, which means he can stand in for the King in his absence.

There have also been calls for Andrew to lose his Scottish title, the Earl of Inverness, following the sex allegations against him that he has denied.

Our Republic, which campaigns for an independent Scotland without a monarchy, told The National: "It continues to be a stain on those cities he claims lordship over that he has been permitted to keep his titles despite the vile crimes he has been accused of and settled out of court."

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Despite the Queen previously taking away his military titles, and the Prince stepping away from being a working royal, the Duke of York will continue on as a Counsellor of State.

Andrew, who has been in the position since 1981, would be able to take over from the new King Charles III if he was unwell or out of the country.

Under the 1937 Regency Act, the five Counsellor of State roles are automatically filled by the monarch's consort and the next four people in the line of succession over the age of 21.

As such, it would take an act of parliament to change the rules so that Andrew was not given a role.

Andrew's continuation in the role follows a string of allegations against him, which he denies.

The outrage over his friendship with the late billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein led to Andrew stepping back from being a working royal.

The National: CEO of Republic, Graham Smith, said giving Andrew the role is 'a disgrace'CEO of Republic, Graham Smith, said giving Andrew the role is 'a disgrace'

Graham Smith, CEO of the anti-monarchy group Republic, told The National the decision to give Andrew the role is "clearly unacceptable".

He said: "It is a disgrace – and a serious misjudgement – to allow Andrew any formal role as a royal.

"To be a Counsellor of State, making it possible that he will be conducting public duties on Charles’s behalf, is clearly unacceptable.

"Andrew’s reputation is in tatters, to think he might represent Britain at the highest levels is going to damage the monarchy, Charles, and the country’s reputation."

Our Republic agreed, saying the decision "debased" the UK.

The National: One of Our Republic members were arrested during an anti-monarchy protestOne of Our Republic members were arrested during an anti-monarchy protest (Image: unknown)

The group told The National: "Keeping on Andrew as a Counsellor of State is a staggering and unacceptable act by this unelected head of state.

"To grant this man such power and status, a man shielded from accountability for his alleged crimes by the wealth and power of his family, displays outright contempt for the concept of justice and equality under law that our country should hold dear.

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"If this is how Charles intends to begin his reign we can only imagine what may follow in his family's personal interests at the expense of the people, let alone the alleged victims of his brother.

"We should not accept this debasement of our country to go without response by the people.

"Andrew's status should be rejected and should the monarchy rally behind him they will show themselves as clearly unfit to rule."