The Duke of York’s surprise role in Prince Philip’s Thanksgiving service has created a damaging split among the Queen’s advisers, The Sun is able to reveal.
The prince has been accused of overshadowing this Monument to the Duke of Edinburghand his detractors at the palace are now determined to thwart any attempt by Andrew to secure a seat at a summer service at St Paul’s Cathedral to mark the Queen’s 70th reign.
But Andrew is said to view the service at St Paul’s on June 3 as both a public and family tribute to his mother, and as such he wants to attend.
A source close to Andrew says he feels “encouraged” by his role supporting the Queen at the Abbey and has proved he can keep his cool in the limelight despite knowing that “the weight of the public opinion” was against him.
The Sun understands Her Majesty wanted someone she trusts by her side and made the decision days earlier after the rest of the family shared it the night before the ceremony.
Andrew had initially been “understandably nervous” at the Queen’s suggestion that she escort her to Westminster Abbey, but was “honoured, grateful and encouraged” by his role alongside his mother.
“While he accepts that he no longer has a fully participatory role as a core member of the firm, there will be family events that he wishes to attend,” the source said.
Such an attitude will fuel aides-de-camp fears that Andrew will join his relatives to commemorate his mother at St. Paul’s service.
And during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in May and June, there may be smaller events where he feels he has a personal and family right to be present.
The source adds: “The Duke of York is not ‘deaf’ to what has happened to him and knows that many have mixed feelings about his future position.
“But his life isn’t over at 62, and he can’t just be wiped out of the world altogether.”
“His appearance at the Queen’s side caused chaos”
The prospect of such maneuvering over Andrew’s future has deepened divisions among the palace courts, many of whom have never concealed their dislike for him and are determined to thwart any prospect that he could use the centenary celebrations to restore his reputation.
On one side are those who believe that by attending the service at Westminster, Andrew has simply fulfilled his natural family right to pay tribute to him Philip, his fatherand to support the Queen, his mother.
Rooted in the other camp are those who hold the view that Andrew has been in exile since January, when he was stripped of all his royal patronage and military affiliations, and should not have appeared at the service, let alone hold such a prominent position as an escort Queen.
“His appearance alongside HM caused chaos,” says a royal insider.
“It was only announced to a handful of royal staff at the last minute that he would take the top position. It can come straight from above, but had they had more time most of these courtiers would have argued against the idea.”
In fact, the official ward regulations, printed only 24 hours earlier, stated that the Duke of York would be arriving with his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie.
It was expected that Andrew and the two princesses would be in the procession behind the Queen as she walked alongside the Dean of Westminster.
Instead, to the surprise of many in the Abbey and viewers of the televised service, he took a far more prominent position, leading the Queen to her seat.
“Despite being accused of inventing this ‘selfish and arrogant conspiracy,’ Andrew was definitely not intrusive,” the insider said.
“It was his mother who made a suggestion that would show her support for him. Whatever his faults, he is still her son.”
Charles is “furious” at Andrew’s role
But the sight of the prince walking alongside the monarch was said to have “dismayed and disturbed” some members of the royal family.
A source said so Prince CharlesHe, who is not a huge supporter of Andrew, was “furious” at the prince’s unscheduled attendance.
Charles predicted – correctly – that Andrew’s role would dominate coverage of the service the next day, overshadowing what was to be a poignant tribute to Prince Philip.
But now that Andrew is making his first public appearance since paying an estimated £7million to his sex abuse accuserVirginia Giuffre, the issue now causing friction in court is whether his participation in the platinum anniversary celebrations should be tolerated or prevented.
Time will tell which side will win.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/18133777/prince-andrew-queen-jubilee-appearance-prince-philip/ “Encouraged” Prince Andrew, who is eyeing the important anniversary date after “proving he can keep his cool” despite public backlash.