The Queen's Relationship With This Royal Has the Family Concerned, Source Says
"Several people in the Palace are concerned that he very much has the Queen's ear," an insider says.
After the announcement of Prince Philip's death last Friday, Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the Royal Family have had to grapple with their grief over the duke's passing along with navigating seeing each other, Prince Harry included, for the first time since his explosive tell-all aired. Courtiers at the Palace have gone to great lengths to keep the focus squarely on the Duke of Edinburgh and the funeral itself, rather than the complicated relationships between family members. The Queen's children and grandchildren have all rallied around her and are helping her come to terms with the passing of her husband of 73 years. They're all expected to put on a united front the day of the ceremony.
But there is one member of the family whose relationship with the Queen—particularly at this difficult time—is being carefully watched as the week progresses. Read on to find out who is causing concern among the royals behind Palace walls, and for more on what to expect at the funeral, check out The One Thing Harry Isn't Allowed to Do at Prince Philip's Funeral, Sources Say.
Prince Andrew has been with the Queen the most since Prince Philip's death.
Prince Andrew has been out of the spotlight for some time. The disgraced Duke of York has not spoken publicly since Nov. 2019 when he did a BBC interview with Newsnight's Emily Maitlis and attempted to defend himself and explain his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender who died in 2019. The universal outrage after the broadcast resulted in a meeting with the Queen who, reportedly worried that her son's remarks had damaged the family's image, insisted he give up his official royal role and had his Buckingham Palace office shuttered.
Despite being out of the public eye, Andrew has been frequently spotted out riding with the Queen on the grounds of Windsor Castle. He was also the first to arrive after the news of his father's death and has spent much of his time since then with his mother. "He is still her favorite son and will continue to look in on her and call her every day as she deals with the loss of Philip," one insider said.
And for more on what's getting in the way of the royals and Harry sitting down together, check out The "Major Issue" Delaying the Royals' Discussions With Harry, Insiders Say.
Andrew offered off-the-cuff extensive remarks about Prince Philip, in stark contrast to what the rest of the senior royals had done.
An inside source told Best Life that Andrew stunned royals watchers and family members when he spoke at length about his father's death and the public's reaction to his passing. Since his infamous BBC interview, Andrew has been kept away from all major royal events. He was even absent from the photos that were released after his daughter Princess Beatrice's wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July of last year. Instead, the images were of the his daughter and her new husband posed with the Queen and Prince Philip.
In the days following Philip's death, senior members of the family have posted photos on their social media accounts and followed up with touching tributes as Prince Charles did when he released a pre-taped video message and this week's very personal written statements from Princess Anne, Prince William, and Prince Harry.
Other royals, like Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Prince Edward, spoke briefly about the Duke after attending a private church service on Sunday. But at that church service, Andrew walked over to the press pool and spoke at length to the media for the first time since stepping down at the end of 2019. His comments made headlines across the world when he revealed the Queen described the loss of her husband as "having left a huge void in her life." He also called his father "the grandfather of the nation," a phrase reminiscent of Tony Blair's instantly legendary moniker for Princess Diana when he called her the "People's Princess" the day after her death in 1997.
Royals reporter Dan Wooton wrote in The Daily Mail that sources have told him that "Andrew spoke out as he becomes increasingly confident he will be able to return to some royal duties in the future, believing the public will soften their stance towards him."
And for more on the connection between Philip and Diana, check out Inside the "Secret Pact" Between Princess Diana and Prince Philip.
Andrew is insistent on playing "an important role" in the funeral planning.
An inside source told Best Life, "Andrew is insistent that he play an important role in the funeral preparations, which has caused some concern within the family."
According to The Daily Mail, Andrew has reportedly told the Queen and Palace officials that he will be wearing an admiral's uniform to his father's funeral. In 2015, Andrew was made an honorary vice-admiral in the Royal Navy on his 55th birthday. Last year, he was to be promoted to admiral on his 60th birthday, but the prince agreed to defer the promotion until he cleared his name in the Epstein case and resumed his royal duties. It is notable that while Andrew's charitable patronages have cut ties with him, the Duke of York has retained his military positions and titles.
The prince's insistence on this comes on the heels of the news the Palace is also struggling to reach a decision on what to do about Prince Harry possibly being the only senior male royal not in uniform at the funeral.
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But Andrew is facing resistance from senior royals and courtiers about returning to public life.
While the duke may believe this is the first step in reentering public life, he faces strong opposition within the family. Charles and William, who both played a major role in encouraging the Queen to strip Andrew of his official duties and patronages in 2019, are still reportedly strongly opposed to him regaining his official role as a senior working royal. "Of course he has the right to speak about his father and attend the funeral," said one insider. "But that is certainly not going to get him back in everyone's good graces."
The source continued: "Several people in the Palace are concerned that, despite Andrew's effectively being banished, he very much has the Queen's ear."
But another insider explained that might not be enough to change the course of things for the duke. "The Queen loves Andrew very much, but she is still very much focused on the future of the monarchy and will always put what is best for the Crown first."
And for more on what William must do for the sake of the Crown, check out The One Thing William Must Do to Save the Monarchy, Say Insiders.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.