Outcast Prince Andrew has today been seen breaking cover, as his family members gather to mark Commonwealth Day.
The Duke of York, 62, has been spotted horse riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle and driving through the estate in his Range Rover.
His appearance, the first in public since he was spotted driving on Friday, comes as key royals are today marking Commonwealth Day with a service at Westminster Abbey.
It will be the first major public event involving key royals that Prince Andrew has missed since his US sex assault settlement with Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre.
However the Queen will not be in attendance. It was announced on Friday that the 95-year-old monarch will miss the event – which is usually a highlight in her calendar.
The event would have been her first major engagement since contracting Covid in February, though Palace officials insist her absence is not health related.
Outcast Prince Andrew has today been seen breaking cover, on the day family members mark Commonwealth Day, without an appearance from the Queen
The Duke of York, 62, has been spotted horse riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle today after driving through the estate in his Range Rover
It was announced on Friday that the 95-year-old monarch will miss the event – which is usually a highlight in her calendar. Pictured: Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle
It comes as it was today revealed The Queen‘s diary is ‘under review’ and she is unlikely to ever undertake some major public engagements such as investitures again.
Sources stress that the 95-year-old monarch is not ill and is ‘as committed to her duties of state as ever’.
But senior royal aides – as well as the Queen herself – are understood to have accepted that the ‘frailties that come with living a long life’ are finally catching up with her.
She will still attend public events where possible, but her appearances will be significantly curtailed.
That means standing on her feet for hour-long public investitures are out and they will be conducted by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal instead.
Sources stress that the 95-year-old monarch is not ill and is ‘as committed to her duties of state as ever’. Pictured: The Queen at Commonwealth Day celebrations in March 2021
A source told the Daily Mail: ‘The Queen is still as alert, able and interested as ever but, physically, she isn’t as strong as she once was, which is entirely understandable for a woman of her age.’
Buckingham Palace declined to comment. However, a royal source said: ‘The Royal Family understands the important role investitures play in recognising service and celebrating people’s contribution to society and there has been a real drive to catch up on the backlog created by Covid restrictions.
‘The Prince of Wales, Princess Royal and Duke of Cambridge have been leading the charge. It’s easy to envisage that they will continue in that vein but I wouldn’t rule out Her Majesty doing smaller or one-off investitures.’
The news comes after the elderly monarch was forced to pull out of today’s Commonwealth Day service.
On Friday, Buckingham Palace, which earlier in the week had still insisted she ‘hoped’ to be there, announced that she had asked the Prince of Wales to represent her at Westminster Abbey.
The Queen, who has suffered a string of debilitating health issues since last autumn and is increasingly using a walking stick, was extremely ‘regretful’ about the decision, it is understood.
Buckingham Palace had said she hoped to attend three significant events in March – the annual Diplomatic Reception, which was cancelled as a result of the war in Ukraine, the Commonwealth Day service, and the service of thanksgiving for her late husband at Westminster Abbey on March 29.
The Mail understands that the Queen is still determined to attend the service for the Duke of Edinburgh and may even be ‘pacing herself’ in public so she can.
The Mail understands that the Queen – who also contracted Covid last month – is still determined to attend the service for the Duke of Edinburgh and may even be ‘pacing herself’ in public so she can. Pictured: The Queen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 7
Hour-long public investitures are out and they will be conducted by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal instead. Pictured: Prince Charles and The Duke of Cambridge
Last Monday, she met with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor Castle, her first in-person meeting since recovering from Covid.
Both Mr Trudeau and other sources have said she was in good health and was not using her walking stick.
Another source who saw her at Sandringham last month confirmed she appeared to be ‘bright, alert and walking relatively unencumbered’. But insiders acknowledge that, like any woman of her great age, the Queen has ‘good days and less good days, as you would expect’.
It was claimed yesterday that she has not been able to walk her dogs at Windsor for the last six months, although sources stressed she has been out on the estate.
And The Mail on Sunday revealed courtiers were sufficiently concerned to be discussing whether she would be mobile enough to attend Philip’s memorial.
This will inevitably call into question how much the Queen will be able to take part in June’s celebrations to mark her Platinum Jubilee.
Last week the treasury insisted that not a penny of taxpayers’ money was used to pay off Prince Andrew’s rape accuser Virginia Roberts.
The Duke of York had last month agreed to pay a considerable sum of money, reported to be some £12 million, to settle a case brought by Ms Roberts.
She had alleged she was forced to have sex with the duke three times when she was 17 under the orders of the late paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
In response to a Freedom of Information request asking whether public money was used for the Duke’s legal costs or the out-of-court settlement, the Treasury said: ‘No public money has been used to pay legal or settlement fees you refer to.’
On Friday Prince Andrew was seen for the first time since settling with Ms Roberts,
Prince Andrew has paid sexual abuse accuser Virginia Roberts and has been pictured for the first time since settling with her.
Ms Roberts had been given the go-ahead to sue Andrew, 61, for unspecified damages in a New York civil court In January and, despite vowing to fight the allegations and repeatedly protesting his innocence, the prince agreed to settle.
Andrew is now believed to have paid his financial settlement to Ms Roberts, dismissing the lawsuit.