EXCLUSIVE: Prince Andrew has not let his public scandal stop him from joining the rest of the British Royal Family in mourning his father, Prince Philip.
On April 11, the Duke of York spoke out for the first time since stepping down from public office after his nuclear interview with the BBC in November 2019 regarding his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Aged 61, the third of four children of Philip and Queen Elizabeth II, he attended the All Saints Chapel of All Saints Church in Windsor Castle along with other members of the royal family.
“I loved him as a father,” Andrew told reporters waiting outside. “He was so calm… He was always someone you could go to and he always listened. “
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“We almost lost the nation’s grandfather,” Andrew told supporters. “And I’m very sorry and I support my mom, who probably feels it more than everyone else.
Andrew added that the Queen, 94, “described him as having left a huge void in his life.”
“But we, the family, those who are close to her, we are mobilizing to make sure that we are there to support her,” he noted.
True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen said he wasn’t surprised the scandal-scarred prince spoke out after losing his father – but not everyone felt it.
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“I understand the palace was taken aback by Prince Andrew speaking to the cameras because, of course, he had an incredibly low profile,” he claimed.
The award-winning documentary maker has been directing shows about the royal family for almost 20 years and worked closely with Andrew’s older brother Prince Charles for eight years.
The Prince of Wales, 72, is next to the throne.
“Having said that, it was Andrew’s dad who died,” Bullen said. “It was a personal statement from a son about the loss of his father. So personally I think he should be allowed to speak. It was not an official role. He attended a private church service and was asked the question about how he wanted to lose his father. “
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In November 2019, Andrew announced that he was stepping down from public service “for the foreseeable future” due to his association with the notorious American sex offender.
At the time, Andrew said in a statement his ties to Epstein had become a “major disruption” to the royal family’s charitable work. The prince also said he was ready to assist any law enforcement agency with an investigation.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre had previously claimed that Epstein arranged for her to have sex with several wealthy or notable men, including Andrew. Giuffre said she had sex with the prince three times – in London and at Epstein’s mansion in New York City when she was 17 and in the US Virgin Islands when she was around 18. He denied the allegations.
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“Yeah, people were a bit surprised when Prince Andrew spoke, but I think it’s a bit unfair,” Bullen said. “I think he should be allowed to tell his truth about his father. “
On Thursday, the Queen ruled that royals must wear civilian clothes at Philip’s funeral, defusing any potential tension over who would be allowed to wear military uniforms.
This means Prince Harry won’t risk being the only member of the royal family not wearing the uniform at the Saturday funeral of his grandfather, who died on April 9 at the age of 99.
Members of the Royal Family often wear uniforms at public events due to their honorary roles in the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. But Harry lost his honorary military titles when he decided to step down from his frontline royal duties last year.
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As a result, protocol suggests that Andrew’s nephew, an Army veteran who has served two missions in Afghanistan, may only wear a costume with medals during royal functions, the British Association of the United Kingdom reported. hurry.
The move also avoids another potential controversy after reports that Andrew was considering wearing an admiral’s uniform at his father’s funeral. Andrew retains his military titles even though he was forced to step down from royal duties.
The funeral is scheduled to take place at Windsor Castle on Saturday, with attendance limited to 30 due to coronavirus restrictions.
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Philip, also known as The Duke of Edinburgh, served in the Royal Navy for 12 years and maintained close ties with the armed forces throughout his life. Military personnel will have an important role to play in paying tribute to him on Saturday despite the attendance limit.
Members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force and British Army plan to participate in the funeral procession. Philip’s coffin will be transported to St. George’s Chapel on a specially adapted Land Rover, which he designed himself.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.