Prince Andrew prepares to make final official royal appearance at his father Prince Philip’s memorial
- Andrew is determined to honour Philip despite fears his presence could dominate coverage of the event
- He formally settled allegedly rape case against him by accuser Virginia Roberts at court earlier this month
- Courtiers believe the Duke will effectively disappear from public life after tomorrow’s poignant event
Prince Andrew was spotted going horse riding in Windsor today as he prepares for a one-day return to public life by attending the memorial service for his late father Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey tomorrow.
The Duke of York, who was accompanied by two grooms as he went out riding at Windsor Great Park, is said to be determined to honour his father despite fears his presence could dominate coverage of the event.
Andrew, 62, was also photographed driving near Windsor Castle today in his hybrid electric Range Rover.
He formally settled the alleged rape case against him by ‘sex slave’ accuser Virginia Roberts at a court in New York earlier this month, after he paid her an estimated £12million. He has always denied the allegations.
Courtiers believe the Duke will effectively disappear from public life after tomorrow’s poignant event, where he is likely to rub shoulders with representatives from charities and organisations he has been forced to part ways with.
Prince Philip – who died last April aged 99 – was Colonel of the Grenadier Guards for more than 40 years, and Andrew took over the role in 2017, but it was one of the military titles he was made to give up earlier this year.
The Duke of York has hardly been seen in public since he stepped down from royal life following the Jeffrey Epstein scandal – with the Queen stripping him of his military affiliations and royal patronages in January.
Prince Andrew is spotted going horse riding in Windsor today ahead of the memorial service for Prince Philip tomorrow
The Duke of York is accompanied by two grooms as he goes out riding at Windsor Great Park in Berkshire this morning
Andrew is said to be determined to honour his father despite fears his presence could dominate coverage of the event
The Duke of York goes horse riding at Windsor Great Park this morning ahead of tomorrow’s memorial service for Philip
Prince Andrew is seen driving near Windsor Castle this morning ahead of the memorial service for his late father tomorrow
Andrew was not present at Westminster Abbey earlier this month for the Commonwealth Day Service which was attended by senior royals including Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Kate – but not the Queen.
The Queen arranged for the service for Philip to take place, and the congregation will include family, friends, dignitaries and representatives of the many organisations with which the Duke of Edinburgh was associated.
But Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are not returning from the California for the service amid concerns raised by the couple over their security, although Harry plans to go to Holland next month to attend the Invictus Games.
The Queen still hopes to attend the service but a decision will not be made until tomorrow morning.
Members of the Royal Family will be joined by more than 30 foreign royals, the duke’s family and friends and 500 representatives from charities and organisations of which he was patron.
Separately today, Lady Louise Windsor was also seen going horse riding on her carriage in Windsor
A graphic shows the plan for the service to remember Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey which takes place next Tuesday
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of York arriving to attend a church service in Hillington, Norfolk, on January 19, 2020
It is understood that the Queen plans to go, but she has recently been forced to pull out of a string of engagements because of ill health and old age.
She was unable to attend the Commonwealth Day service due to concerns about her mobility and comfort.
But she is determined to travel from Windsor to London to mark the long and productive life of her beloved husband. She and Philip were married in the Abbey in November 1947 and it holds many special memories.
About 1,800 guests will be there. By contrast, his funeral was limited to 30 people because of Covid restrictions.
Palace and Abbey aides will probably take steps to ensure that the event is less taxing for the Queen. She may well arrive at a side entrance away from cameras and take a shorter route to her seat.
The floor of the ancient abbey is uneven, so it is also likely that she will use her walking stick.