Prince Andrew fights back tears in Queen’s funeral procession

Prince Andrew during the procession of the Queen’s coffin to Westminster Abbey   (BBC)
Prince Andrew during the procession of the Queen’s coffin to Westminster Abbey (BBC)
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Prince Andrew has joined the procession taking the Queen’s coffin to her funeral at Westminster Abbey, appearing emotional as he took his place behind the carriage.

He was wearing a morning suit, rather than military uniform, after being stripped of his royal duties and military titles over his relationship with convicted sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Andrew, 62, reached an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Guiffre that accepted no liability in March, and has denied abusing her or other girls trafficked by Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell.

He was seen walking alongside the King, his older sister Anne, the Princess Royal, and his younger brother, the Duke of Wessex in Monday’s procession from Westminster Hall.

The Duke of York will take up the same position after the funeral ceremony, when the Queen’s coffin will travel to Wellington Arch before being driven to a committal service in Windsor.

He was heckled over his relationship with Epstein while walking behind the Queen’s coffin in Edinburgh last week, and the man was arrested and charged with behaviour “causing fear or alarm”.

Epstein’s victims have been angered by Prince Andrew’s appearance at public engagements following his mother’s death, fearing that he will try to “rehabilitate his image”.

“For the victims that are involved, seeing him in these types of public appearances and being praised by the public, it’s frustrating to them,” Spencer Kevin, a Florida-based lawyer who represented nine of Epstein’s victims, told The Independent.

“This is a man they see as someone who is, at the very least, disrespectful to the victims, by his friendship with a paedophile. And for him to be lauded in public, as he’s doing, and to be praised by the public, which is what he’s seeking, is insulting.”

In a tribute to the Queen issued on Sunday, Prince Andrew called her “Mummy, Mother, Your Majesty” and said it had been “an honour and privilege to serve you”.

“Mummy, your love for a son, your compassion, your care, your confidence I will treasure forever,” the statement added.

Prince Andrew has not been a working royal or serviceman since being stripped of his titles in January, but was permitted to wear his military uniform at a “vigil of the princes ceremony” during the Queen’s lying of state.

As the Queen’s second-eldest son, he spent 22 years in the Royal Navy and served as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War.

Prince Andrew met Epstein in the 1990s through his friend Ghislaine Maxwell, who was Epstein’s girlfriend at the time.

They saw each other regularly through the years, with the royal sometimes staying at the billionaire financier’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, and Maxwell’s house in London.

Prince Andrew hosted Epstein and Maxwell as guests at the royal residences of Windsor Castle and at Sandringham, and invited them to his daughter’s 18th birthday.

Epstein was jailed for procuring a child for prostitution in 2008 but unlike other high-profile contacts, Prince Andrew resumed contact after his release.

The pair were photographed together in New York while Prince Andrew was staying at Epstein’s home, during a trip he said was to end their friendship.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight in 2019, Prince Andrew admitted he had attended a “small dinner party” to celebrate Epstein’s release from prison.

Questioned why he would stay at a convicted sex offender’s home, he said it was a “convenient place to stay” and “with the benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do”.

Prince Andrew said he did not regret his friendship with Epstein, because “the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful”.

He has refuted accounts by witnesses who said they saw him receiving a foot massage from a young Russian woman in 2010 and said he “had no recollection” of a photograph of him with his arm around Ms Giuffre.

The royal said her account of them going to a nightclub and having sex at Maxwell’s house in 2001, when she was 17, could not have been true because she described him as sweaty and he “didn't sweat at the time” because of an “overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland's War when I was shot at”.

Prince Andrew said he was not present on the date in question, because he took his daughter to a birthday party at Pizza Express in Woking.

Prince Andrew said that during his many stays at Epstein’s homes and private island, he saw “absolutely no indication” of sex trafficking or abuse.

Epstein killed himself in prison in the summer of 2019 while on remand over dozens more charges of sex trafficking minors, allegations he had denied.

Earlier this year, Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after being convicted of carrying out a years-long scheme with him to groom and sexually underage girls.