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Prince Andrew Faces Backlash After Appearance at King Constantine of Greece's Memorial Service

The Duke of York, alongside his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, led a group of royals into the church service

<p>CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images</p> Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson arrive to attend the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of Greece at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on February 27.

CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson arrive to attend the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of Greece at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on February 27.

Prince Andrew's appearance at a Thanksgiving Service honoring the late King Constantine of Greece has raised eyebrows.

Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, walked in front of a group of members from the British royal family on Tuesday as they made their way to a memorial service at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle for King Constantine, who died in January 2023 at age 82.

The Duke of York's appearance came as a surprise to many, and some voiced their disapproval on social media. Prince Andrew stepped back from his public duties as a working member of the royal family in 2019 following his bombshell interview with the BBC about his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (which inspired the upcoming Netflix movie Scoop). He was stripped of his military titles and patronages by his mother, Queen Elizabeth, in January 2022 after he attempted to have Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault lawsuit against him dismissed.

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The Duke of York, 64, has denied any wrongdoing and settled with Giuffre out of court for an undisclosed amount in February 2022.

<p>Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty</p> Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson walk to the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of Greece at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on February 27.

Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson walk to the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of Greece at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on February 27.

Related: Prince William Pulls Out of Memorial Service for Godfather Due to Personal Reasons, Palace Says

Despite stepping away from public engagements, Prince Andrew has continued to join the royals for family events such as holiday church outings, funerals and other services. He also attended the coronation of his brother King Charles in May 2023.

Fergie, as the Duchess of York is affectionately known, has also joined the royal family at recent events. While Fergie, 64, did not attend the crowning ceremony at Westminster Abbey, she attended the Coronation Concert that weekend where she and Prince Andrew sat together.

The couple was most recently seen together on Christmas Day. Two months ago, Prince Andrew and Fergie joined members of the royal family for the traditional Christmas Day church outing to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, where they walked together. Royal watchers were also surprised to see the Duchess of York on Christmas Day, as Fergie has not joined the royal family's Christmas walk to church since the early 1990s. Though the Duke and Duchess of York separated in 1992, they have remained friendly and continue to live together at Royal Lodge in Windsor.

The Duke and Duchess of York officially divorced in 1996 after a decade of marriage but retained the royal titles Queen Elizabeth gave them on their 1986 wedding day.

<p>Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty</p> Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson lead the walk to the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of Greece at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on February 27.

Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson lead the walk to the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of Greece at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on February 27.

Related: Netflix Gets the 'Scoop' on Prince Andrew's Bombshell BBC Interview in New Movie Trailer

Fergie, who recently shared her skin cancer diagnosis after battling breast cancer last year, has spoken out in support of her ex-husband following his step back from royal duty and said it was difficult to see his “demise” while promoting her novel A Most Intriguing Lady last year.

"You've been divorced for many, many years, and yet you've been Andrew's rock," Good Morning America correspondent Juju Chang asked her in March 2023. "What's it been like watching him go through this withering public scrutiny?"

"So sad, so sad," the Duchess of York replied. "We've been there for each other — you know, when I've gone through really bad times in the past, Andrew's always been there."

"He is exceptionally kind, and he is a very, seriously good grandfather. He's very steadfast for the girls," Fergie continued, referring to their daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, who are both married with children. "We are women that also have had to see the demise of a very strong man, and that has been really difficult to see."

The pair's daughters also made the traditional Christmas outing, and Princess Beatrice and her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, were at the Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday. Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, might have missed it due to a logistical reason, as they live in Portugal part-time for Jack’s job.

<p>Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty</p> Prince Andrew, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, sit in a row ahead of Prince Michael of Kent, Princess Beatrice, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Sarah Ferguson at the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine on February 27.

Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty

Prince Andrew, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, sit in a row ahead of Prince Michael of Kent, Princess Beatrice, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Sarah Ferguson at the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine on February 27.

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Prince Andrew and Fergie moved at the front of the group that included Princess Beatrice, Edo,  Princess Anne, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall, while Queen Camilla drove up solo to St. George's Chapel.

The Queen, 76, formally led the British royal family at King Constantine’s memorial service, stepping in for her husband, King Charles, as he pauses public-facing duties while receiving cancer treatment.

<p>ANDREW MATTHEWS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images</p> Queen Camilla arrives to attend the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of Greece at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on February 27.

ANDREW MATTHEWS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Queen Camilla arrives to attend the Thanksgiving Service for King Constantine of Greece at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on February 27.

While King Charles, 75, was not expected to attend the event on Feb. 5, Prince William was unable to make it at the last minute. The Prince of Wales, 41, dropped out of the ceremony to honor his godfather King Constantine due to a personal matter, Kensington Palace says.

PEOPLE understands the personal matter is not related to the health of his father, King Charles.

According to the order of service, Prince William was set to deliver the second reading. He was due to attend without his wife, Kate Middleton, who is recovering from her recent abdominal surgery at home in Adelaide Cottage on the Windsor estate. A palace source tells PEOPLE she "continues to be doing well."

<p>DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty</p> Kate Middleton and Prince William at the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 30, 2023.

DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty

Kate Middleton and Prince William at the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 30, 2023.

King Constantine was a close friend of both King Charles and his late mother, Queen Elizabeth, and the memorial service brought together members of royal families from all over the world.

Constantine, who was the last King of Greece, died in January 2023 at age 82. Among the congregation for the service was King Constantine's widow, Queen Anne-Marie, and their son Crown Prince Pavlos with his wife, Crown Princess Marie-Chantal.

The links between the British and Greek royal families are strong, and Prince Philip was born in Crete and was a first cousin of King Constantine's father, King Paul I. Prince William is also the godfather of Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal’s eldest son, Prince Constantine Alexios.

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