17 April 2021

‘Favourite’ son Andrew seated closest to Queen inside chapel

17 April 2021

The Duke of York cut a solitary figure at his father’s funeral as he made his first official royal appearance since stepping back from his duties in 2019.

Most of the other royals sat in their family groups dotted at a safe social distance throughout St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Although Andrew’s two daughters were present, he sat apart from them in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines as they do not share a household.

He was however seated closest to the Queen, who also sat alone throughout the ceremony.

The Queen and the Duke of York during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh (PA Wire)

Andrew has often been described as her favourite son.

At one point, an emotional-looking duke could be seen pulling his mask down with his eyes cast downwards.

Andrew moved to follow immediately behind his mother as she left the chapel at the conclusion of the service.

He did drop back however, to allow his brother the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to go ahead of him.

As the family left the chapel and made their way up the hill towards the royal apartments, Andrew could be seen walking close to his eldest daughter Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

Earlier, Andrew walked with his siblings and nephews behind the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin as it travelled from Windsor Castle to St George’s chapel.

He walked beside his younger brother the Earl of Wessex and immediately behind Charles and in front of the Duke of Cambridge.

The Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of York, the Duke of Sussex, the Earl of Wessex and Forfar and the Prince of Wales during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle, Berkshire (PA Wire)

Andrew’s presence is believed to be one of the reasons behind the decision to have all the male royals wear morning coats rather than traditional military uniform.

His military status has been ambiguous since stepping back from his former duties in the wake of his disastrous Newsnight interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

He was made an honorary vice-admiral in the Royal Navy on his 55th birthday in 2015, and had been due to be promoted to admiral on his 60th birthday last year but offered to defer the role indefinitely.

The Duke of Sussex is also not entitled to wear military dress due to his own decision to step away from royal life.

The no-uniform rule was seen to be “the most eloquent solution to the problem”, a military source told The Sun.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral (PA Wire)

Andrew – who saw active service in the Falklands War – did wear his military medals, which include the South Atlantic Medal 1982 and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal for his time in the Royal Navy.

His relationship with Epstein has cast a long shadow over his years of royal service.

Virginia Giuffre, who says she was trafficked by Epstein as a teenager, said she was left “horrified and ashamed” after an alleged sexual encounter with the duke in London in 2001.

Andrew, who was previously dubbed Air Miles Andy amid criticism of his globe-trotting, denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.

His ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, with whom he shares a home, was not invited to the funeral.

Harry was also left sitting alone after his heavily pregnant wife Meghan was advised against flying to the UK by her doctors.

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