The Duke of York, who has settled the civil sexual assault case he was facing, is likely to want to attend his late father’s thanksgiving event.
15 February 2022
The Duke of York is likely to want to appear alongside the royal family at the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service next month.
Andrew will undoubtedly be keen to pay his respects to his late father Philip in Westminster Abbey on March 29, in the wake of settling his US civil sexual assault case.
But the duke’s appearance is anything but certain, and has the potential to massively overshadow the high profile occasion honouring Philip’s achievements and life of duty.
Large numbers of the royal family including the Queen are due to attend, alongside Philip’s friends, colleagues and representatives of organisations he supported.
Much is likely to depend on whether the Queen considers the thanksgiving church service a family event or an official engagement, and how much she and royal aides fear Andrew’s presence would detract from the proceedings.
The views of future king the Prince of Wales and second in line the Duke of Cambridge are also likely to be taken into account.
Andrew stepped down from royal duties in November 2019. He attended Philip’s funeral in April 2021.
Last month, the Queen stripped her second son of his prestigious honorary military titles and royal patronages, and he stopped using his HRH style, in a move that effectively cast him adrift from the institution.
The statement released on January 13, outlining the changes, still stands, with the duke continuing not to undertake any public duties, meaning there will be no place for Andrew on the Buckingham Palace balcony alongside the Windsors during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
Andrew has settled his civil sexual assault case with no admission of guilt.
But his denials of Virginia Giuffre’s claims that she was trafficked by paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law have not been vindicated at trial.
Former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt tweeted: “Outright vindication – deliverable at a trial – has been denied.
“The claims of sexual assault Andrew denies hang in the ether. He’ll be keen to attend his father’s memorial service.
“He’ll want redemption and a role. Charles and William want Andrew to remain as a non royal royal.”
The settlement has come early in the monarch’s historic Jubilee year.
It will give royal aides hope that the royal family can distance themselves from the duke, with the chance to celebrate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne at the national festivities in four months’ time without Andrew’s trial looming over them.
The duke is four days away from his 62nd birthday, which falls on Saturday.