The Duke of York’s role in escorting the Queen to and from her seat in Westminster Abbey for the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service did not provoke a family disagreement, as has been suggested. Although it wasn’t in the order of service, it had already been decided that Andrew was the very person to look after his mother. Living at Royal Lodge he was only minutes from Windsor Castle and the situation had been discussed and agreed by the Prince of Wales.
The Duke of York’s high-profile appearance was not an altogether popular move, but surely in her 97th year Her Majesty, of all people, is entitled to choose who she wants around her when she is feeling somewhat vulnerable. The family lunch at Windsor Castle afterwards was attended by Andrew along with many of his father’s European relatives, who also attended a private evensong in St George’s Chapel.
Just when things were looking up a little for the Duke of York, a Sunday newspaper revealed details of yet another financial scandal. This time it was alleged that he had received £1 million from a Turkish fraudster, although Andrew is not accused personally of any wrongdoing. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were also mentioned as recipients of funds. Paying off his sexual assault accuser, Virginia Giuffre, has not remotely silenced his critics and I fear it never will. As a decorated Falklands War veteran Andrew should be at the forefront of the events taking place this summer to commemorate the ending of hostilities 40 years ago. He will not be there nor I feel will he be a major presence during the platinum jubilee weekend.
At the Royal Windsor Horse Show this month a fantastic platinum jubilee celebration, the like of which has never been seen, will be held in the main arena. A Gallop Through History was devised with Her Majesty in mind and will feature pomp and ceremony and, of course, the horses she loves so much. Each night members of the royal family will be present and if the Queen is able to attend she will be there on the final night.
As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s jubilee tour hosted by the governments of Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas came to an end, parts of it were lambasted for being colonial. Stung into action William made a rare statement in which he affirmed that far from being ‘colonial relics’ he and Catherine are committed to service. And for them that means ‘not telling people what to do’. The Cambridges have shown again and again what a great team they are and how they are willing to take criticism in order to get things right.
Their children are learning too. In a delightful moment from her great-grandfather’s memorial service Princess Charlotte, who celebrates her seventh birthday on 2 May, was watching from her seat in the abbey when she glimpsed herself on a television monitor. She jumped a little, conscious of where she was and that everybody else could see her too, but controlled her excitement with a sweet half frown. She and Prince George behaved with aplomb at the first of many formal occasions they will have to attend in the years to come.