When do flags fly and bells toll on Royal birthdays? And will they do so for Prince Andrew this year?

How much do you know about flags and when they fly from government buildings?

The answer is probably "not very much" - which is precisely where I was until earlier on Thursday.

However, I can now tell you much more about it - and why the plans are all up in the air after Prince Andrew stood down from royal duties last year.

Let's starts with some simple questions and answers:

Who gets a flag flown on their birthday?

A flag is flown for the Queen's birthday, of course. Credit: PA

There are 10 members of the Royal Family for whom the Union Flag is flown on the date of their birth.

The Queen (obviously) and the Duke of Edinburgh, all of their children, so Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, plus two of their spouses, Camilla and Sophie, and lastly William and Kate, as he is in the direct line of succession.

Which government buildings must fly a flag?

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is in charge of this policy and they order all government buildings to fly the Union Flag at full-mast all day on those birthdays.

Town halls and local authorities are advised to follow suit but they don't have to do so.

The flag will also fly on other days - such as the Queen's official birthday in June, Remembrance Day in November and the date of the Queen's Accession to the throne in 1952, February 6.

Prince Harry does not have a flag flown for his birthday. Credit: PA

Prince Harry - to be clear - does not have this honour as he is neither a child of the Monarch (he's the Queen's grandson) nor in the direct line of succession (unlike his brother).

The reason I've become so knowledgeable on this matter concerns Prince Andrew's upcoming 60th birthday on February 19.

There is some criticism that the Prince who stepped back from all royal duties over the ongoing controversy around his friendship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein should still have the honour of a flag flown from government buildings on his birthday.

And so the Prime Minister's spokesperson, with everything he has going on at the moment, found himself asked about flags on Thursday - specifically on February 19.

The response: "We are working with the Royal Household to consider how flag flying policy can be applied in changing circumstances, such as when a member of the Royal Family steps back from public duties."

So it's currently unresolved and being looked at.

There are probably more pressing issues at 10 Downing Street. Credit: PA

So far, so simple.

But the flag flying policy can't be changed across the United Kingdom because in Northern Ireland (unlike the rest of Great Britain) there is a requirement to change the law - in order to change the rules on flag flying (the flying of national flags is a very sensitive matter in that corner of the UK).

So unless MPs are going to rush through new legislation between now and Prince Andrew's birthday, then the flying of flags (on government buildings not councils) will still go ahead.

I suspect MPs might consider they have many more important things on their plate at the moment.

Bells will toll at Westminster Abbey. Credit: PA

As for bells?

Well, the bells will still toll on February 19 at Westminster Abbey.

The Abbey told us that they are a "Royal Peculiar" and the bells are rung for all the 10 birthdays I listed above - plus those of William's children, George, Charlotte and Louis.

"There are no plans to change those arrangements," said a spokesperson for Westminster Abbey.

So whatever happens with the flags, Prince Andrew will get some bells for his 60th birthday.

Now you know as much as I do about the matter!