The Queen smiled for the cameras as she appeared in public with Prince Andrew for the first time since he retired from royal duties.

She appeared relaxed as she arrived at church near Sandringham shortly after sealing a deal with Prince Harry which means he and his wife can step back from life as senior royals.

Prince Andrew was close to the Queen as they arrived at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Hillington, near to her Sandringham estate.

It was a stark contrast to his church attendance on Christmas Day, where he was only spotted at the more private 9am service at St Mary Magdalene, the church on the Queen's estate in Norfolk.

He avoided the cameras and the crowds at the 11am service, where Prince George and Princess Charlotte stole the show instead.


It is the first time the Queen has been seen since the announcement on Saturday evening that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will not use their HRH royal titles as they seek to step back from public life as senior members of her family.

The Queen had seemed blindsided by the announcement 10 days ago that they wanted carve out new roles, but in signing off a deal, she acknowledged there had been talks months ago.

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But she has given them a model quite different to their proposed half in, half out plan which would have seen them carry on some royal duties.

Image: Prince Andrew was not at the public service with the family on Christmas Day

And she singled out her granddaughter-in-law Meghan for praise in her statement, saying she was "particularly proud" of how quickly the former actress has "become one of the family".

Asked about the agreement reached by the royals, Boris Johnson told reporters: "I am sure the whole country will be joining me in wishing them the best. The Royal Family has been around for a long time and will find a way forward."

Prince Andrew announced he would step back from royal duties "for the foreseeable future" in early December after scrutiny over his friendship with the financier Jeffrey Epstein.

He appeared unrepentant about his bond with the businessman, who was a convicted sex offender, during an interview with BBC Newsnight.

Harry and Meghan
Harry and Meghan to lose royal funds and drop HRH titles from spring

But he later said: "I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.

"His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure."

Epstein was awaiting trial accused of trafficking girls as young as 14 for sex and had previously served time in prison in 2008 for trafficking underage girls.

Prince Andrew also said he had "nRead More – Source