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Prince Andrew Is ‘Back,’ Friends Say, as Duke Leads Royals at Memorial

Andrew Matthews/Reuters
Andrew Matthews/Reuters

Prince Andrew’s friends have said that pictures of him leading the royal family into church in London today, accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, show he has been given a “second chance” by King Charles.

Andrew was forced to relinquish his official role and all his patronages by the late Queen Elizabeth II after he was accused of sexual assault by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre.

Andrew subsequently paid Giuffre a reputed $12 million to settle her claim but never admitted guilt. Following the queen’s death, Charles allowed Andrew to appear with the family at several events, and on Christmas Day this year, both he and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson were included in the royal party walking to church.

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The scene was repeated today, with Fergie and Andrew and their children heading up a much-diminished royal party to attend a memorial service for the late and last king of Greece, Constantine II.

How Royal ‘Family Unity’ Saved Prince Andrew

A friend of Prince Andrew’s told The Daily Beast: “Today’s photographs show that Andrew is very clearly back in the fold. You have to remember that the king firmly believes two things which favor him: that you’re innocent until proven guilty and that blood is thicker than water.

“Andrew has always denied ever meeting Virginia Giuffre, and always claimed privately that the picture was a fake. But they wanted him to settle, so he did, and it wasn’t right that was held against him. He has done everything that has been asked of him since. He has been absolutely loyal. He has toed the line. He deserves a second chance and he is getting it.”

Another friend of Andrew’s told The Daily Beast: “Nothing in that family happens by accident when there are photographers around. Andrew is back.”

However, a friend of the king’s told The Daily Beast that “nothing has changed” when it came to Andrew’s position in the family. “The king has always been very clear; Andrew is part of the family but doesn’t represent the Firm. Nothing has changed. He had a personal invite to attend the memorial today from the Greek royal family. I think people are getting rather over-excited because he happens to be a fast walker.”

Sources in Prince William’s camp have refused to be drawn on what the “personal matter” was that kept him away from the memorial to his godfather Tuesday. William was due to read during the service and his absence was announced less than an hour before the service was due to begin, sparking panic.

Official sources said his absence was not connected to the king’s medical condition, and his aides said his wife Kate Middleton “continues to be doing well” as she recovers from abdominal surgery.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah, Duchess of York attend the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of the Hellenes at St George's Chapel on February 27, 2024 in Windsor, England.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah, Duchess of York attend the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of the Hellenes at St George's Chapel on February 27, 2024 in Windsor, England.

Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters

There had been some speculation that he canceled attending the service to avoid being pictured with Andrew.

However, one friend of William’s said, “I don’t know what happened, but William wouldn’t have canceled at the last minute without a good reason, because of the attention it causes. Avoiding Andrew wouldn’t reach that bar.”

Sources have also said that William’s no-show was not connected to the death of Lady Gabriella Windsor’s husband, Thomas Kingston, which occurred on Sunday but was announced Tuesday.

The king’s office and representatives for Andrew did not return requests for comment asking whether Andrew’s inclusion in the royal group today reflected a change in his standing in the family.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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