On March 29, an 1,800 strong congregation including the Queen, members of the Royal Family, politicians, European royals and friends gathered in Westminster Abbey to pay tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh. The occasion was the first large-scale public event the monarch, 95, has attended outside of palace walls since last October.
She arrived on the arm of her second son, Prince Andrew, and also clutched a walking stick.
The event marked a rare public appearance for the Duke who was recently stripped of his military titles and royal patronages.
The Service of Thanksgiving was his first appearance since he settled in his civil sexual assault case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre.
The Duke reached an out-of-court settlement with Ms Giuffre but this was not an admission of guilt and Andrew vehemently denies her claims.
After the Queen and Andrew arrived together, a heated debate was sparked among royal watchers and experts alike.
Some claimed that the mother and son’s appearance was controversial while others claimed Andrew has a right to be at an event that honours his late father.
Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter discussed the controversy that faced the sovereign in a column for Australian lifestyle site 9Honey.
Ms Arbiter wrote: “[The Queen] unleashed a wave of fury when she arrived on Prince Andrew’s arm for the Service of Thanksgiving in honour of Prince Philip.
“Fuelled in part by a band of online trolls unwilling to allow her one iota of relief, her actions arguably elicited worldwide scorn and the condemnation that followed was loud and extreme.”
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“Short of breathing, she’s quite rightly stripped him of almost every royal privilege known to princely men, but she’s clearly not prepared to denounce him as her son.”
Andrew was stripped of his remaining military titles and patronages in January amid the civil case brought against him in the US, which has since been settled.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson also noted that the Duke would not be able to use his HRH title in any official capacity.
A number of charities had already cut ties with the prince following his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview in 2019, where he spoke about his relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
At this time, the Duke noted he would be stepping back from royal life for the “foreseeable future”.
Since then Andrew has only appeared at a select few royal events.
He was among 30 mourners who gathered last April to attend Prince Philip’s funeral service.
The sombre occasion had a capped guestlist due to coronavirus measures in place at the time.
The Queen was famously forced to sit masked and alone away from others as restrictions prevented households from mixing with one another.
At Philip’s memorial service two weeks ago, she was flanked by members of the Royal Family.
The monarch sat in the front row for the service alongside her two eldest children – Prince Charles and Princess Anne – and their respective partners.