‘Emboldened’ Prince Andrew eying key Jubilee date after ‘proving he can hold his nerve’ in public despite backlash

‘Emboldened’ Prince Andrew eying key Jubilee date after ‘proving he can hold his nerve’ in public despite backlash

THE Duke of York’s surprise role at the thanksgiving service for Prince Philip has led to a damaging split among the Queen’s advisers, The Sun can reveal.

A number of courtiers are furious that an unexpected change in the the service – made at the Queen’s instigation – meant that Andrew took centre stage as he escorted his mother into Westminster Abbey.


The prince has been accused of overshadowing the memorial to the Duke of Edinburgh, and his detractors at the palace are now determined to thwart any move for Andrew to have a place at a summer service at St Paul’s Cathedral in honour of the Queen’s 70-year reign.

But Andrew is said to view the service at St Paul’s on June 3 as both a public and family tribute to his mother and, as such, he wants to attend.

A source close to Andrew says he felt “emboldened” by his role supporting the Queen at the Abbey and that he had proven he could hold his nerve in the limelight, despite knowing that “the weight of public opinion" was against him.

The Sun understands Her Majesty wanted someone she trusted by her side, and made the decision days earlier, with the rest of the family told the night before the ceremony.

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Andrew had been initially “understandably nervous” about the Queen’s suggestion that he should escort her into Westminster Abbey, but had been “honoured, grateful and emboldened” by his role at his mother’s side.

“While he accepts that he no longer has a fully participatory role as a core member of the firm, there will be family events where he will want to be present," the source said.

Such a stance will fuel aides' fears that Andrew will join his relations for the tribute to his mother at the St Paul’s service.

And there may be smaller events during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations during May and June at which he feels he has a personal and family right to be present.

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The source adds: “The Duke of York is not ‘tone-deaf’ to public feeling about what has happened to him and knows that many have mixed feelings about his future position.

"But at 62 his life is not over yet, and he can’t simply be airbrushed completely out of existence.”

'His appearance at Queen's side caused mayhem'

The prospect of such manoeuvring around Andrew’s future is what has exacerbated the split among palace courtiers, many of whom have never hidden their distaste for him and are determined to thwart any prospect of him using the Jubilee celebrations to rehabilitate his reputation.

On one side are those who believe that in taking part in the service at Westminster, Andrew was simply fulfilling his natural family right to play tribute to Philip, his father, and to support the Queen, his mother.

Entrenched in the other camp are those who take the view that since January, when Andrew was stripped of all his royal patronages and military affiliations, he is an exile and should not have appeared at the service, let alone taken such a prominent position escorting the Queen.

“His appearance at HM’s side caused mayhem,” reports a royal insider.

“That he was going to take prime position was only made known to a handful of royal staff right at the last minute. It can right from the top, but had they had more time most of those courtiers would have argued against the idea.”

Indeed the official Order of Service given out to the congregation, which had been printed only 24 hours before, stated that the Duke of York would be arriving with his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie.

Andrew and the two princesses were expected to be in the procession behind the Queen as she walked alongside the Dean of Westminster.

Instead, to the surprise of many in the Abbey and those watching the televised service he took on a far more prominent position, ushering the Queen to her seat.

“While he has been accused of coming up with this 'egotistical and arrogant plot' it was very definitely not a case of Andrew being pushy," said the insider.

"It was his mother coming up with a suggestion that would show her support for him. Whatever his faults, he’s still her son."


Charles 'furious' at Andrew's role

But the sight of the prince walking besides the monarch was said to have “dismayed and disturbed” some members of the Royal Family.

One source said that Prince Charles, who is no great supporter of Andrew, was “furious” at the prince’s unscheduled participation.

Charles predicted – correctly – that Andrew’s role would end up dominating the next day’s coverage of the service, overshadowing what was meant to be a poignant tribute to Prince Philip.

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But now that Andrew has made his first public appearance since paying an estimated £7million to his sexual abuse accuser, Virginia Giuffre, the issue now causing friction at court is whether to condone or prevent his participation in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Time will tell which side will win out.


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