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The Queen put the monarchy's future in jeopardy by publicly supporting Prince Andrew

Mikhaila Friel   

The Queen put the monarchy's future in jeopardy by publicly supporting Prince Andrew
  • Prince Andrew escorted the Queen to Prince Philip's memorial service on Tuesday.
  • It marked Andrew's first appearance since settling a sexual-assault lawsuit in February.

Queen Elizabeth II was escorted by Prince Andrew to Prince Philip's memorial on Tuesday, a decision that has been questioned by the British public.

The Queen and Andrew were the final royals to arrive at the televised event at London's Westminster Abbey. They rode in the same car to the ceremony, and the monarch held Andrew's arm as they walked to their seats.

A source told The Mirror's royal editor Russell Myers that it was the Queen's "wish and final decision" to have Andrew escort her, despite concerns from Prince Charles and Prince William.

It marked Andrew's first public appearance since settling in February with Virginia Giuffre, who had accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager in the early 2000s at the homes of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, which Andrew has repeatedly denied.

And it wasn't the first time the Queen has publicly supported her son. In August 2019, she was photographed attending church with Andrew two days after legal documents were published that detailed his alleged misconduct. And even though the prince stepped back from royal duties after his controversial BBC "Newsnight" interview in November 2019, his titles and patronages weren't removed until more than two years later, in January 2022. In comparison, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's patronages and titles were removed one year after their royal exit.

Activists say the Queen's support of Andrew is insulting to survivors of sexual assault

The Queen's appearance with Andrew on Tuesday sparked a strong reaction from the British tabloids, as shown by images of the front pages posted on Twitter by Omid Scobie.

The Queen also faced criticism from activists, who said her support of Andrew sends the wrong message to survivors of sexual assault.

"If the Queen can defiantly rebel/step out of good sense for Prince Andrew she's not only given him her protection but saying to women violated by powerful men like him that such men can't be held to account," Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a woman's right activist with more than 145,000 followers on Twitter, wrote on the platform.

"Prince Andrew walking the Queen into Westminster Abbey is a slap in the face for victims of sexual abuse & proof (if ever needed) that the elite think they live under different rules," wrote Howard Beckett, who describes himself as an activist and trade unionist and has more than 63,000 followers on Twitter.

"People often say the Queen never puts a foot wrong in public life and on many issues that's true but Andrew is definitely an exception," Jack Royston, a royal correspondent for Newsweek, told Insider. "The Prime Minister and political leaders of this country were at the Abbey, as was overseas royalty. Britain was on show to the world and to give Andrew a spotlight in that moment sends completely the wrong message."

The monarchy's purpose has been put into question in recent years

At a point in time when the monarchy's role is under scrutiny, the Queen's support of Andrew could further damage its reputation.

Most recently, Prince William and Kate Middleton were met with public protests during their royal tour of the Caribbean in March. They canceled the first stop on their tour, in Belize, after locals protested the couple's arrival and carried signs referencing the monarchy's colonial past.

They were met by more protestors in Jamaica, who argued that the UK should pay reparations for the slave trade. Both countries plan to remove the Queen as head of state, The Independent reports.

There were public calls to abolish the monarchy as recently as March 2021, after Meghan and Harry's Oprah interview. The couple told Oprah that an unnamed royal made racist remarks about their son Archie's skin tone. Harry later confirmed that it was not the Queen or Prince Philip who made the remarks.

The future of the British royal family depends on what the Queen does next, according to Royston.

It's not yet been confirmed if Andrew will take part in further public appearances, or whether Prince Philip's memorial service was the exception.

The royal family are set to gather at a number of engagements in celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend in June, marking her 70 years on the throne. Royston told Insider that if Andrew joins these events, it "will stain the monarchy's reputation at precisely the moment the country is supposed to be celebrating it."

Representatives for Buckingham Palace and Prince Andrew did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.


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