Prince Andrew is set to make his first public appearance in months on Monday after missing the Platinum Jubilee celebrations with coronavirus.
The monarch’s second son has maintained a low profile since his disastrous 2019 Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, which focused on his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
Earlier this year, he avoided a damaging trial by agreeing to a multi-million-pound settlement with Virginia Giuffre, who accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17.
The Queen stripped him of his royal titles and honorary military roles, confirming he would no longer perform public duties. But in what some interpreted as a public show of support, Andrew took a central role in accompanying his mother to Prince Philip’s memorial service in March, his last major public outing.
The duke will appear on Monday alongside other Royals at the Garter Day service at Windsor Castle, a procession celebrating the Order of the Garter, Britain’s oldest order of chivalry.
A senior palace source told The Times: “Clearly at some point soon, thought will have to be given to how to support the duke as, away from the public gaze, he seeks to slowly rebuild his life in a different direction.
“There is of course a real awareness and sensitivity to public feelings.”
“There is also recognition that the task of starting to support him as he begins to rebuild his life will be the first step on a long road and one that should not be played out every day in the glare of the public spotlight.”
The Duke of York was due to attend a Jubilee service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral last week until testing positive for Covid.
Ms Guiffre alleged that the Duke had sex with her on three occasions when she was a teenager being kept as a “sex slave” by Epstein.
Under the terms of the settlement, the Duke did not admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to make a “substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights” to support the “fight against the evils of sex trafficking”.
Royal experts suggested that, while his recent presence alongside the Queen was evidence she still supported her son, it did not represent his reintroduction into royal life.
Dickie Arbiter, who served as the Queen’s press spokesman in the wake of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, told i: “That Andrew was there was a given – Prince Philip was his father and it would have been odd if he hadn’t turned up.
“The Queen needed someone alongside her to help if necessary. It’s not a way back into public life. He was attending his father’s Thanksgiving Service and escorting his mother to it.”
Before the Jubilee festivities, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, suggested Andrew was “seeking to make amends” for his damaging behaviour, adding: “I think that’s a very good thing.”