Just three weeks after settling a civil sexual assault case in New York, for which he was also stripped of all his royal duties and titles, Prince Andrew stepped into the limelight once again Tuesday as he escorted his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, to Westminster Abbey, for the memorial services for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The monarch, who has been known lately to battle ill health and mobility issues, was there to say a final goodbye to the man she called her devoted “strength and stay,” who supported her, always a step behind, for 73 years.
The 40-minute service gave thanks for the life and work of the Duke, who died aged 99 at Windsor with the Queen by his side on April 9.
The Queen’s decision to walk along with her disgraced son came as a surprise to many. After measures imposed on him by his own mother for his involvement in a sex scandal, this is believed to have been Andrew’s final official outing as a serving royal. Princess Beatrice, Andrew's daughter, was unable to hold back her tears.
After walking in through a side door near Poets’ Corner holding the Duke of York's elbow, the Queen then made her own way to her seat, padded with an extra cushion, next to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Andrew then took a front-row seat next to his younger brother, the Earl of Wessex.
Also attending the services were Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer and European royals such as Prince Albert of Monaco, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, and Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.
It was Queen Elizabeth's first public appearance in five months, during which she needed to rest on her doctors' advice, having even caught COVID-19.
Only 30 mourners were able to attend Prince Philip's funeral service last year due to strict coronavirus rules, which meant the queen poignantly sat alone as her husband of 73 years was lowered into the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel of the castle.
Tuesday’s thanksgiving service was a much bigger event. Prince William and his wife Kate and other members of the royal family, including their children, were there, except Prince Harry of Sussex, Charles' second son and William's brother.
Harry's absence came as a disappointment to royal circles because the Duke of Edinburgh had been particularly fond of that grandchild of his and was always there for him.