Prince Andrew’s role in Prince Philip’s memorial service was the Queen’s way of sending a message of “unity”, a royal expert has claimed.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s thanksgiving service took place at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday (March 29), with over 1,800 guests in attendance.
The Queen’s presence was only confirmed a couple of hours prior to the event due to her recent health concerns.
However, Her Majesty was determined to attend the service and was escorted into the Abbey by her son, the Duke of York.
This was Andrew’s first public appearance since he lost his military titles and royal patronages, and paid millions in an out-of-court settlement to his alleged victim Virginia Giuffre.
The two royals travelled together from Windsor Castle to Westminster Abbey in the Queen’s state limousine and after the service concluded, the Duke escorted the monarch out of the Abbey and they were seen leaving together in the car.
While many claimed that it was Andrew who made a call to take a role in the forefront of the event, a royal commentator explained that it was the Queen’s decision.
True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen told the Royally Us podcast that the monarch was signalling that her family are “united”.
He said: “I think the message the Queen was sending out at that point, by having Andrew by her side, was that this is a family event, this is a family thanksgiving for the head of the family.
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“And the Queen wanted the support of one of her children to bring her in and Andrew was clearly going to be that guy.”
He added: “It was very clearly not a public or state event, it was a family event and the messaging from the Queen is: we are united as a family.”
The appearance comes almost a month after Andrew settled his civil lawsuit with Ms Giuffre.
Ms Giuffre had accused the Duke of sexually assaulting her in 2001 when she was 17, allegations he was always vehemently denies.
In the settlement, which is not an admission of guilt, he pledged to make a “substantial donation” to her charity which supports sex trafficking victims.
In November 2019, the Duke of York stepped down from his role in public life.
He was subsequently stripped of his honorary titles and patronages, and stopped using his HRH title.
The Daily Star has approached Buckingham Palace for comment.
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