A heckler’s arrest in Scotland Monday afternoon has thrust an estranged Prince Andrew back into public view, and cast an awkward shadow on the royal family as it mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The heckler called Prince Andrew a “sick old man” as the disgraced royal walked behind the Queen’s coffin during a solemn procession to St. Giles Cathedral in the Scottish capital Edinburgh.
Andrew’s rare appearance in public was the result of his reconciliation with Jeffrey Epstein. Earlier this year, Prince Andrew settled out of court in a civil case brought by Virginia Guiffre, a victim of Epstein’s sex trafficking ring when she was 17. Andrew was accused of assaulting and batterying her.
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Andrew may have joined his siblings last Thursday at the Queen’s Scottish summer residence Balmoral, as they gathered at her bedside before she passed away. Giselle Bastin is an associate professor at Flinders University, Adelaide. She’s a British royalty expert and has been trying to keep Andrew away from the attention of others.
“They don’t want it to be about William and Harry’s feud,” she tells TIME. “They don’t want it to be about Prince Andrew, and his potentially allegedly shady dealings with Jeffrey Epstein and so on.”
Prince Andrew, Prince Andrew, Prince Charles III and Princess Anne arrive at St. Giles Cathedral (Edinburgh, Scotland) on September 12, 2022.
Samir Hussein—WireImage/Getty Images
Prince Andrew’s future
The palace revoked Prince Andrew’s military titles and royal patronage last January, in the wake of Guiffre’s assault allegations. At the Edinburgh procession, Prince Andrew was the sole child in civilian clothing. Prince Edward, Princess Anne, King Charles III and Prince Charles III all wore military attire.
Prince Andrew will be allowed to wear a uniform at the Queen’s final vigil at Westminster Hall but not at the funeral on Sept. 19 or any other proceedings. (The Queen’s grandson Harry, who renounced his royal title and duties in 2020, must also wear civilian clothes at the funeral.)
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This is an abrupt departure from how the Queen had protected her image during her last months as queen.
At Prince Philip’s funeral in March 2021, the Queen reportedly ordered no military uniforms to be worn to avoid embarrassment for Prince Andrew. He was also given visibility during the memorial at Westminster Abbey, escorting his mother in and out of the church—a prominence widely noted in the British press.
Camilla Duchess Cornwall, Prince Charles Prince Prince of Wales. Queen Elizabeth II. Prince George of Cambridge. Prince William, Duke and Duke of Cambridge. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. Catherine, Duchess, and Prince Louis of Cambridge.
Chris Jackson—Getty Images
The conservative U.K. broadsheet TelegraphAndrew spoke to Queen Elizabeth in June, reportedly about reinstating his monarchy. His daughters Princesses Beatrice, Eugenie and Eugenie want to be working royals.
Now King Charles III must decide whether or not to finance his brother. After leaving the Royal Navy in 2002, Prince Andrew has not had any full-time paid job, although he acted as the U.K.’s special representative for international trade for 10 years and has been receiving a £20,000 ($23,000) annual pension.
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When Prince Andrew was a working royal, he made as much as £250,000 ($292,000) yearly. His reinstatement would run counter to King Charles III’s long-reported inclination towards paring back the royal family to only a few key members to save on cost.
At the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, she was flanked only by working royals during her appearance at the Buckingham Palace balcony—a stark contrast to the scene 20 years prior. Prince Andrew wasn’t able to attend due to coronavirus.
“Who we saw at the final balcony appearance of Queen Elizabeth II, during her Jubilee, will be what we see going forward [without her],” says Bastin.
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