The Queen allowing Prince Andrew to escort her to Prince Philip’s memorial service showed she ‘believes he’s innocent’, and is still determined to ‘make her own decisions’, a royal expert has claimed.
Speaking on True Royalty TV’s The Royal Beat, Vanity Fair’s Royal Editor Katie Nicholl, said the Queen knew what she was doing and deliberately wanted to show that she still ‘makes the decisions’.
The monarch has been scaling back her public appearances since the start of the year due to mobility issues, but as her biographer Robert Hardman recently noted, she is ‘absolutely pin sharp as ever’, and seemingly wants to make that clear.
His prominent role on Tuesday came just weeks after agreeing a multi-million-pound settlement with his rape accuser Virginia Giuffre, whose claims he has always denied.
He was stripped of his military honours and royal patronages, and told by Prince Charles he would be made to ‘disappear’ from public life following his final official outing for his father’s memorial.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew arrive to attend a Service of Thanksgiving for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in central London on March 29
Queen drives away in her car with her son Prince Andrew after attending a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip
‘This was the Queen’s way of showing two things; one, that the buck stops with her, and she makes the decisions, and secondly that she believes he’s innocent. She made the point very, very clearly,’ Katie said.
‘But Charles and William were very aware of the perspective, of the optics of this.
‘Unfortunately, this picture [of Prince Andrew escorting the Queen] has overtaken what should have been a memorial to a great man.’
Katie added that Prince William and Prince Charles were totally against Prince Andrew escorting the Queen to the service. saying: ‘They knew the result of this…’
It has been claimed the Queen and Prince Andrew have always been close, and recent developments and consequences in his life will no doubt have devastated her
And the Queen’s decision to allow Prince Andrew to escort her to the memorial service for her late husband was designed to show that she is still the main decision maker in the Royal Family.
Elsewhere on the programme, Royal biographer and journalist Duncan Larcombe said how the display of resilience was to show ‘we’re not going to lock him in the cupboard’.
He said: ‘This is the first proper set piece royal event since Prince Andrew settled his case, and it’s a way of getting it out of the way – you know, we’re not going to lock him in a cupboard, he’s at his father’s memorial service and of course he’d be there’.
The Royal family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the ceremony of Trooping the Colour to watch a fly-past of aircraft by the Royal Air Force, in London on June 9, 2018
‘But I think that it was a very bold decision of the Queen. Let’s not forget the guy she’s standing next to is a pariah at the moment in this country.’
It has been claimed Prince Andrew is the Queen’s favourite, and having always been a family man he maintained a good relationship with Sarah Ferguson when they divorced officially in 1996, for Eugenie and Beatrice.
Now in his 60s it seems Prince Andrew ill-judged choices in life will go on to determine the future he will be forced to lead.
For the last few months he has not been seen outside the Royal’s Scottish Highlands estate.
He stepped back from public duties in 2019 after his ‘car-crash’ Epstein interview on BBC’s Newsnight and subsequently his military appointments were suspended.
He has since lost a series of UK military titles, but most notably the most senior infantry regiment in the British army, Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, which he had taken over from his father Prince Philip in 2017.
A Channel 4 Dispatches programme revealed that over the course of 12 years, Epstein and Prince Andrew had met on ten separate occasions at Epstein’s numerous properties. They were also photographed together in New York 2010, after Epstein had already served 13 months in custody for committing sexual offences with an underage girl.
In November 2019, his official stepping down statement read: ‘Circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.
‘Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.’
And adding: ‘I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.’