Queen Elizabeth has largely stayed out of the public eye as she continues to recover from a bout of COVID-19, but she made an appearance at her late husband Prince Philip’s memorial service. However, her first public appearance was overshadowed by who escorted her to the service: her son, Prince Andrew.
The Queen’s Latest Public Appearance
It was unknown whether or not the queen would attend the Service of Thanksgiving, with palace insiders saying the decision would be made the day of the event. Her appearance at the memorial service marks the first time Queen Elizabeth has attended a public event outside of a royal residence since November.
Special arrangements were made to accommodate the queen’s ongoing mobility issues. Instead of walking through the front door of Westminster Abbey and down the long aisle to the front of the church, Queen Elizabeth came through a side door. To steady herself, the queen used a cane and the arm of her son Prince Andrew, who was also making his first public appearance in a while.
Many were shocked to see the prince in public, just six weeks after he settled a lawsuit with Virginia Guiffre, who had accused him of sexual assault. His attendance at the service and his prominent role as an escort for his mother show that the queen is supporting her son through the ordeal.
Royal Expert: ‘She Wholeheartedly Loves And Believes Her Son’
“It shows she wholeheartedly loves and believes her son,” says royal commentator Robert Jobson. “As she did when she made a statement about Camilla being Queen’s Consort, many people will now accept the Queen’s word and judgment.”
The decision was not wholly supported by other members of the royal family, but Jobson says Queen Elizabeth insisted that Prince Andrew attend the service. “It does make some sense that he accompany her because he doesn’t have a partner,” he explained. “A settlement has been paid but he’s guilty of nothing in the eyes of the law.”
“She has faith in Andrew,” Jobson continued. “Even if he disappears from public life, he’s been able to pay tribute to his father, who after all, was very proud of his service in the Royal Navy, where he fought in the Falkland Islands conflict.”
Celebrating Prince Philip’s Life
In addition to the royal family, the memorial service also gave representatives of the many charities and organizations Prince Philip worked with an opportunity to pay tribute to him. The prince’s funeral last April was very small due to COVID restrictions, with only 30 people in attendance. The Service of Thanksgiving gave others the opportunity to celebrate Prince Philip’s life.
Prince Andrew’s prominent appearance at the memorial service shows that Queen Elizabeth intends to support her son as he continues to weather this round of bad press, and she wants the rest of the royal family to do so as well.