Queen Elizabeth has stirred controversy on Tuesday, March 29, after she appeared at her husband Prince Philip’s memorial with her son Prince Andrew in her arm, with many people denouncing the move due to his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

The Queen, who is reportedly struggling with mobility issues after her bout with COVID-19, was accompanied by Andrew in the royal Bentley, before holding onto his arm while she used a walking stick to navigate the memorial at Westminster Abbey, according to the Daily Beast.

Many believe that this shows the Queen’s defiance at the public opinion against Andrew, who had to pay an eight-figure settlement to Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre for a sexual assault case brought against him, the Guardian reported.

“He could have sat in the congregation with others, with his relatives, but they actively decided that he would have this role of supporting her,” Peter Hunt, former royal correspondent for the BBC, said.

“So she has chosen, in essence, to remind people that he hasn’t admitted any wrongdoing, he’s not guilty of anything, he’s innocent. And she’s very clearly stating that he has a role at family occasions,” Hunt continued.

Andrew was given a seat in the front row of the church, where he was placed next to his brother Prince Edward and across the aisle from his other siblings. All of the Queen’s grandchildren were also in attendance, with the exception of Prince Harry, who declined to go to the memorial for “security reasons”.

Over 1,800 people attended the memorial, with some of Europe’s most prominent royal families being in attendance as well, with the exception of King Harald of Norway, who had tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw his RSVP.

Tweets from social media have largely expressed disbelief at how Andrew has recovered so quickly from the scandal, while many onlookers have stated their opinion that the disgraced prince was only there to support his mother and mourn his deceased father.

“Prince Andrew escorting Queen Elizabeth to and from her husband’s memorial service means game over. We can’t afford this government or the royal family. Not a good look,” one person tweeted.

“It’s important for the whole family to be there no matter what. Harry should have come as well. A lot of people feel really sorry for the Queen watching her whole family disintegrate,” a retired beauty therapist from London said.

The royal family has yet to make a statement with regards to Andrew’s prominent role in the memorial.

Prince Andrew, recently stripped of his royal titles after his sexual assault settlement with Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre, accompanied Queen Elizabeth to the ceremony in a show of support for the disgraced royal. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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