Questions raised over whether Andrew will appear during Jubilee weekend

The duke, who had been banished from public royal life, accompanied his mother into Westminster Abbey at Philip’s memorial service.

30 March 2022

The Duke of York’s central role escorting the Queen to the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service has raised the prospect of Andrew putting in an appearance during the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

The disgraced royal, who just weeks ago paid millions out of court to settle a civil sexual assault case with a woman he said he had never met, accompanied the monarch to her seat in a shock move in Westminster Abbey on Tuesday.

Andrew had been banished from royal life, first bowing out of royal duties in 2019 after his disastrous Newsnight appearance over his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh
The Queen with the Duke of York (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA)

This January, he was stripped of his honorary military titles and patronages by the Queen, and forced to relinquish using his HRH style amid his legal battle.

Virginia Giuffre was suing him for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was 17 after being trafficked by Epstein.

At the time, Buckingham Palace said: “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

On Tuesday, Andrew was front and centre of Philip’s official memorial service, with his mother holding onto his elbow as they made their way via the shortest route into the Abbey to remember Philip.

If the Jubilee service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral on June 3 is considered to be a family occasion, Andrew could be among the congregation, alongside other non-working royals.

Royal expert Joe Little, of Majesty magazine, suggested: “I think he will be there.

“Although the Queen is head of state, she is also head of the family as well and in that capacity all her children should be with her.”

Memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh
The Queen is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee at national commemorations in June (Aaron Chown/PA)

He added the royal family may take stock following the media’s response to Andrew’s role at Philip’s service.

Mr Little said: “It is a hard one to predict. It will depend on how the royal family react to some of the newspapers’ front pages today.

“Of course, they’re not known to react in the way that you think they might.”

Mr Little added: “It’s two months away. Nobody would have predicted what would happen yesterday because Andrew was in the order of service to arrive with other members of the family and his daughters at the West Door.

“This was obviously an 11th hour change.”

The Palace declined to comment on who would attend the St Paul’s service, with a spokesman saying: “Our position hasn’t changed since our statement in January.”

Among the headlines in Wednesday’s papers were “Royals’ ‘dismay’ at Andrew role in Philip service’”, “The pain… & the stain” and “Royal fallout over Queen’s ultimate act of love”.

Clarence House declined to comment on whether the Prince of Wales was supportive of the decision for Andrew to walk alongside her, and Kensington Palace has yet to comment on where the Duke of Cambridge stands on the issue.

The pre-printed order of service set out the royal family’s arrival sequence, with Andrew due to appear at the main entrance with his daughters and their husbands and walk with them to his seat.

Memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh
The royal family in the Abbey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Even after the arrangements changed with Andrew travelling from Windsor to London in a car with the Queen, he was then expected to process from Poets’ Corner behind the monarch while she walked alongside the Dean of Westminster, rather than the duke being at his mother’s side.

Andrew remains in the line of succession, and is also still a Counsellor of State.

In the event the Queen cannot undertake her official duties as sovereign on a temporary basis due to illness or absence abroad, two or more Counsellors of State are appointed by Letters Patent to act in her place.

The role of Counsellor of State is undertaken by any spouse of the monarch and the next four adults in the line of succession, currently Charles, William, Harry and Andrew.

Concern over the arrangements, which could only be changed with legislation, has been raised in recent weeks after Charles got Covid and William was away in Dubai at the same time.

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