Queen leads royals – including Andrew – in Prince Philip tribute

She was accompanied by her second son, Prince Andrew, who has faced accusations of sexual assault in a US civil court

Ailing Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday made her first major public appearance in months, at a thanksgiving service for her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99.

The monarch, who turns 96 next month, appeared emotional at times during the service at Westminster Abbey. But questions arose after she was accompanied by her second son, Prince Andrew.

Royal commentators said it was unsurprising that the 62-year-old Duke of York should be at his father’s memorial service, but many questioned the extent of his involvement.

“She’s very clearly stating that he has a role at family occasions,” he added.

Earlier this year, as Andrew’s accuser Virginia Giuffre pursued him in a New York court, the queen stripped him of his honorary military titles, effectively removing him from any official role.

He rejoined her afterwards, helping her into the royal limousine for the 25-mile (41-kilometre) return journey from central London.

The queen, currently in her record-breaking 70th year on the throne, has not attended a high-profile event outside her homes since she spent a night in hospital last October.

Buckingham Palace only confirmed her attendance at Philip’s memorial service around two hours before it was due to start at Westminster Abbey.

The large congregation of 1,800 was a stark contrast to the stripped-back funeral service for the Duke of Edinburgh last April, where just 30 mourners were allowed due to coronavirus restrictions.

Tuesday’s event included elements of Philip’s original funeral plans that had to be hastily revised.

The couple were married for 73 years.

After the October scare, doctors ordered the queen to rest and she cancelled a string of high-profile engagements, including hosting world leaders at the UN climate change summit in November.

On February 5, she met some members of the public at her Sandringham estate in eastern England, a day before the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

Speculation has also been rife that she could soon spend more time at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, after claims that a stairlift has been installed.

While shunning Britain, Harry has attracted criticism by confirming he will attend his Invictus Games event for wounded veterans in the Netherlands next month.

Originally published as Queen leads royals – including Andrew – in Prince Philip tribute

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