World Politics

Britain's Prince Andrew keeps low profile and skips Christmas Day walk

Key Points
  • Britain's Prince Andrew avoided the limelight on Christmas Day by skipping the royal family's traditional mid-morning walk to church and attending an earlier service with other relatives.
  • Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son, has kept a low profile since he stepped down from royal duties last month in the wake of a scandal over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
  • He did not join other members of the family when they walked to the 11 a.m. service - one of the staples of the royal calendar.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Britain's Prince Charles leave the St Mary Magdalene's church after the Royal Family's Christmas Day service on the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Britain, December 25, 2019.
Phil Noble | Reuters

Britain's Prince Andrew avoided the limelight on Christmas Day by skipping the royal family's traditional mid-morning walk to church and attending an earlier service with other relatives.

Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son, has kept a low profile since he stepped down from royal duties last month in the wake of a scandal over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

He was filmed walking along a path with his brother Prince Charles to St Mary Magdalene church near the Queen's estate in Sandringham, eastern England in time for a 9 a.m. service.

He did not join other members of the family when they walked to the 11 a.m. service - one of the staples of the royal calendar.

British media reported that Andrew had made a personal decision to miss the main service and instead stayed in the house with his father, Prince Philip. Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Philip, 98, whose official title is the Duke of Edinburgh, was only discharged from hospital on Tuesday where he was being treated for what Buckingham Palace described as a pre-existing condition.

The queen attended both services, Sky News and other media outlets reported. Dressed in a bright red outfit, the queen arrived in a car accompanied by her daughter-in-law Camilla, the wife of Prince Charles, for the 11 a.m. service.

Palace staff say the 93-year-old queen will use her Christmas address to the nation later in the day to stress the value of harmony and reconciliation after a "bumpy" year for her own family.

Britain's Prince Charles, Britain's Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive at St Mary Magdalene's church for the Royal Family's Christmas Day service on the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Britain, December 25, 2019.
Phil Noble | Reuters

Over the past 12 months, her husband received a police warning for his involvement in a car crash, grandsons Princes William and Harry publicly fell out and Andrew became more entangled in the furor over his links to Epstein.

Andrew has denied an accusation by a woman who said she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends, including the prince, when she was 17.

Epstein, who had been charged with trafficking dozens of underage girls, committed suicide in jail in August.

Charles, 71, also attended the 11 a.m. service.

Charles' elder son, Prince William was present with his wife Kate and two of their children - Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

After the service ended, the four stopped to talk to crowds who had gathered near the church. George, 6, and Charlotte, 4, who attended the Christmas Day service for the first time, received gifts from well wishers.

William's younger brother Prince Harry is spending Christmas in Canada with his wife Meghan and baby Archie.

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