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Prince Andrew arm-in arm with the Queen at Prince Philip’s service

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By Newsvot News - - 5 Mins Read

The Queen was accompanied by Prince Andrew to Philip's memorial service at Westminster Abbey, where he took center stage. 

Prince Andrew, an outcast royal, was accorded the honor of attending his mother, The Queen, to the Duke of Edinburgh's memorial service on Tuesday.

The Queen allowed Andrew to escort her from Windsor Castle to Westminster Abbey in central London, sending a clear message that Andrew is back in the royal fold following a payout of up to $20 million to Perth-based woman Virginia Giuffre to settle a civil case related to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Thousands of people waited outside to see the 95-year-old monarch, who will turn 96 in a few weeks, enter the church through a private side entry, disappointing thousands of people who had hoped to see her in her first public appearance in nearly six months. 

Despite a string of recent cancellations, the Queen was adamant about attending this crucial personal tribute to her 74-year-old husband. After several months of failing health, Prince Philip died on April 9, 2021, at the age of 99, at Windsor Castle.

Several senior members of the family are said to have expressed qualms about putting Andrew in the spotlight by assigning him the task of escorting his mother from Windsor and into and out of Westminster Abbey during the broadcast service.

According to accounts, it went away for a time but reappeared at the last minute, shocking the family to witness the Queen escorted into the Abbey by her disgraced second son.

Andrew was expected to have visited the Abbey with his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, as well as their husbands, according to the Order of Service.

In a last-minute alteration, he drove in with the Queen from Windsor, changed cars at Buckingham Palace, and then walked her into the Abbey via a side door after arriving in a state limousine with her.

Family members supported the Queen's decision, understanding that she made the difficult decision to suspend her son from all royal duties in November 2019 and then to strip him of all obligations in January this year for the monarchy's sake.

"It's a shame that what was supposed to be a celebration of his father has been tainted," one source remarked last night.

Buckingham Palace would comment on the issue, but royal sources said it had always been clear that Andrew would be welcome at family gatherings. They claimed he went with her since it was a family gathering.

Regardless of the issues surrounding Andrew, guests at the Abbey agreed that he should be present at his father's funeral ceremony, but some were surprised to see him given such a prominent role.

They interpreted it as the Queen's strongest statement yet that she is standing by her son despite the scandal surrounding his association with millionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the subsequent court battle launched by Ms Giuffre, which concluded with Andrew settling without admitting culpability.

On the surface, the Queen appeared to have made an incredible maternal gesture. It demonstrated her undying love for her favorite son and her faith in him.

Such a strong and public support would also suggest that she wished to remind people that he had not admitted any wrongdoing and that, despite the scandal's heinous nature, he had not been found guilty of anything other than poor misjudgment.

"This shows just how little the royals comprehend the public anger at Prince Andrew," remarked journalist and broadcaster Benjamin Butterworth. Andrew riding alongside the head of state like this is a slap in the face for sex trafficking victims."

Another former BBC royal journalist, Peter Hunt, said it was a sign of the Queen's 'endorsement' of Andrew, adding: 'It didn't happen by chance.' He might have sat in the congregation with others, with his relatives, but they chose him to be her supporter.

Around 1,800 people attended the thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey, including many representatives from the hundreds of organizations supported by Prince Philip, including the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

It was a stark contrast to his burial last year, when Covid rules limited attendance to barely 30 people and the Queen was left to mourn alone and veiled.

The monarch, who is 95 years old, was determined to attend yesterday's service in honor of the man she referred to as her "strength and stay."