“Andrew, you are a sick old man!”: The cry launched this Monday 12th against the third child of Elizabeth II in Edinburgh exemplifies the discomfort caused by the presence of this disgraced prince in the farewell to the late queen, accompanied by the whole world.
The Duke of York made a brief return to the public scene to pay tribute to his mother, who died last Thursday at Balmoral Castle at the age of 96. Earlier in the year, she had stripped him of his military titles, due to a sexual assault scandal on a minor.
On Monday, the 62-year-old was the monarch’s only child who walked dressed as a civilian behind the coffin, while his brothers King Charles III, Princess Anne and Prince Edward wore full-dress military uniforms.
His role during the 11 days of national mourning is one of several inconvenient issues the House of Windsor has to deal with, as is the rift between heir to the throne William and his brother Harry, who on Saturday appeared unexpectedly together.
Evidence of the annoyance was the scream of a man as Andrew, a former helicopter pilot, walked silently behind the hearse carrying his mother’s body to St. Giles in Edinburgh for a church service.
Over the weekend, Andrew also joined other royals to greet the crowd gathered outside Balmoral and to welcome the procession when it arrived in the Scottish capital.
“As a member of the family, as a son of the Queen, (Andrew) is logically grieving for his mother,” but “I would be very surprised if there is any role for the Duke of York in the future,” he says. Robert Hazel, constitutional expert at University College London.
The participation of this divorced ex-playboy also attracted eyes during the funeral ceremonies of his father, Prince Philip, who died in April 2021. Andrew arrived by surprise along with the Queen in a car and accompanied her to the entrance of Westminster Abbey.
His exile reflects the serious damage to the image of the royal family caused, it is estimated, by his friendship with the magnate Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in August 2019 in the United States after being accused of sexual exploitation of minors.
Andrew, father of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, was accused of sexually abusing Virginia Giuffre when the girl was 17. To end the charges, he made an out-of-court settlement and paid millions of dollars.
The Duke of York, facing calls to withdraw from public life, gave a disastrous interview to BBC in 2019, in which he offered an unconvincing defense and questioned the authenticity of a photograph of him with Giuffre.
The queen, who some have long regarded Andrew as her “favorite son”, stripped him of his titles in early 2022, reportedly under pressure from the now monarch Charles III and Crown Prince William.
“Monarchies that lost popular support disappeared. Any astute monarch is always attentive to public opinion and responds quickly,” explains Hazell. “I would hope Charles wasn’t too different from his mother” in that regard, she adds.
Royal biographer Robert Jobson reported this week that William, who was seen driving Andrew to Balmoral to accompany the queen on her deathbed, is against his uncle’s return to public life.
The once popular member of the royal family for his active service during the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina seems to be currently reserved for more modest private responsibilities.
Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, with whom he continues to share a home near Windsor Castle, adopted Elizabeth II’s beloved corgi dogs Muick and Sandy after the sovereign’s death, their spokeswoman said over the weekend.