LONDON (June 14): Queen Elizabeth II’s disgraced second son Prince Andrew did not appear at the prestigious Garter Day procession in Windsor on Tuesday, reportedly after a “family decision”.
Instead, the 62-year-old Duke of York attended a private lunch and ceremony investing new members of the Order of the Garter, Buckingham Palace said.
Andrew has been largely sidelined from royal duties because of public outrage at his links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Outside Windsor Castle, meanwhile, protesters greeted Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair as he arrived at the event
Blair was appointed to the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry as a Knight Companion, but protesters chanted “Tony Blair war criminal” over his role in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
Blair walked to the event with Britain’s first black cabinet member Valerie Amos, who became the first black person appointed to the order, which was established by King Edward III nearly 700 years ago.
Queen Elizabeth II, 96, did not take part in Monday’s procession because of mobility issues, but did attend the lunch and the investiture ceremony.
Her eldest son and heir Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, as well as his eldest son Prince William and his wife Catherine also attended Monday’s procession.
Andrew earlier this year settled a US civil case for sexual assault brought by a woman who claimed Epstein trafficked her for sex.
He claimed never to have met her. Seeking to limit the reputational damage to the monarchy, he was stripped of his honorary military titles, effectively giving him no frontline royal role.
In late March, there was widespread public disapproval that he accompanied his ailing mother to her seat for the memorial service of her late husband Prince Philip.
That prompted speculation he was angling for a return to duties, including at the recent public festivities for her record-breaking 70 years on the throne.
But Andrew withdrew, officially due to catching Covid, and played no public part in the four-day Platinum Jubilee celebrations. – AFP