As the UK continues to mourn the death of Prince Philip, there is speculation it may lead to a comeback from his disgraced son, Prince Andrew.
The 61-year-old – who was stripped of all his royal duties by the queen after his close friendship with late American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was uncovered a few years ago – has apparently been a pillar of strength to his mourning mother.
Having always been touted as her favourite son, Andrew is said to be supporting the queen “on a daily basis” at Windsor Castle as she deals with her grief.
“Despite the fact he’s, to all intents and purposes, finished as a working royal, he’s still extremely close to the Queen,” a source close to the Duke of York reveals. “He will be extremely supportive to her in the coming days, weeks and months.”
Prince Philip’s funeral this Saturday will be the first time in months the disgraced duke will be seen at an official royal gathering after he was effectively banned from public appearances by his mother.
Andrew’s statement about Philip’s death, in which he called him “the grandfather of the nation,” was also the first time anyone has heard from him since his disastrous BBC interview in 2019 where he was questioned over his involvement with Epstein.
The Duke of York was interviewed after attending a remembrance service at the Royal Capel of All Saints in Windsor on the Sunday following his father’s death. However, footage of him speaking outside the church – alongside the Earl and Countess of Wessex – was slammed on social media. “The only interview he should be giving is to the FBI,” someone said on Twitter.
Andrew is still part of the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ongoing investigation into Epstein’s sex trafficking and abuse of underage girls. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Despite the cloud hanging over his head, insiders say he still believes he can make a comeback. “He genuinely thinks it’s possible,” a source says. It’s “promising” that Epstein’s mistress, Ghislaine Maxwell, who is awaiting trial in the US, has not called him yet as a witness, the source adds.
Andrew reportedly believes when the public see him at the televised funeral, they will soften towards him. “He hopes the public, if he's supporting his mother in this difficult time, might give him the benefit of the doubt and that he will be able to return to some royal duties in the future.”
But others believe Prince Charles will not welcome him back into the royal fold while the allegations still hang over him.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk