DAN WOOTTON: Palace rattled off Andrew’s comeback

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Arranging Prince Philip’s funeral amid a coronavirus lockout presents the courtiers at Buckingham Palace with a host of serious challenges.

But so does the role of Prince Andrew, the disgraced duke who has been kept away from all major events since his disastrous Newsnight interview in November 2019 about his close friendship with late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The consequences were so severe that he was actually banned from public life … until yesterday when he shocked royal onlookers by paying tribute to his beloved father on camera.

I learned that Andrew spoke out as he grew increasingly confident that he will be able to return to some royal duties in the future, believing the public will soften their stance towards him.

His supporters hope the British will feel sympathy when they see Andrew reunited with his relatives to mourn at the televised funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday.

Prince Andrew shocked royal viewers yesterday by paying tribute to his beloved father on camera

Prince Andrew shocked royal viewers yesterday by paying tribute to his beloved father on camera

Andrew has insisted on playing a full part in the funeral preparations and plans to use his status as the Queen’s favorite son to support her daily behind the scenes at Windsor Castle as she deals with her grief.

Some senior courtiers, however, disagree that there is a way back for the Duke of York.

While they recognize that Andrew has the right to attend his father’s service, they don’t think this should be a springboard to other high-profile ‘Buckingham Palace balcony’ events.

Prince Charles would agree.

A source close to Prince Andrew revealed: ‘Despite being done, in every way, as a working royal family, he is still extraordinarily close to the Queen. He talks to her almost every day.

Andrew has insisted on playing a full part in the funeral preparations and plans to use his status as the Queen's favorite son (pictured together) to support her daily behind the scenes at Windsor Castle as she cope with her grief. handles.

Andrew has insisted on playing a full part in the funeral preparations and plans to use his status as the Queen's favorite son (pictured together) to support her daily behind the scenes at Windsor Castle as she cope with her grief. handles.

Andrew has insisted on playing a full part in the funeral preparations and plans to use his status as the Queen’s favorite son (pictured together) to support her daily behind the scenes at Windsor Castle as she cope with her grief. handles.

He will be very supportive of her for the next few days, weeks and months. He is still her favorite son, despite all the troubles.

“He’ll be there for her at this darkest hour.”

Andrew’s allies are encouraged by allegations that Ghislaine Maxwell will not bring him up as a witness at her trial, even though he remains under a dark cloud for his lack of cooperation with the FBI Epstein investigation.

My source added: ‘He still has thoughts that he could make a comeback. He really thinks that is possible.

It is promising that Ghislane does not appear to be planning to call him as a witness.

He still believes in his heart that he can return and that time will be a healer. He thinks he will one day be able to resume royal duties and save his reputation.

He hopes that if he supports his mother in this difficult time, the public will give him the benefit of the doubt.

“He hopes there is a way back.”

But a royal source tells me: ‘Prince Andrew may hope this sad situation changes things, but Prince Charles is adamant that there is no turning back as long as the allegations hang over him.

He spoke privately in front of the camera because this is a family event. No one can stop him from doing that. ‘

The Duke has been kept away from all major events since his disastrous Newsnight interview in November 2019 (pictured) about his close friendship with late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein

The Duke has been kept away from all major events since his disastrous Newsnight interview in November 2019 (pictured) about his close friendship with late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein

The Duke has been kept away from all major events since his disastrous Newsnight interview in November 2019 (pictured) about his close friendship with late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Many members of the public reacted furiously at the general coverage of Andrew’s statement in Windsor yesterday by broadcasters including the BBC and Sky News.

Tellingly, Princess Anne’s statement was released on paper and she avoided the cameras.

Andrew could have done the same, but chose not to show the public a reformed image.

His revelation that the Queen said Prince Philip’s death left a “ huge void ” in her life has been widely reported today.

Meanwhile, Andrew’s ex-wife and close companion Sarah Ferguson is unlikely to attend the funeral.

Andrew’s insider added: ‘It’s not decided for sure. But I would be surprised if she did, because the number will be limited.

I learned that Andrew (pictured yesterday) spoke out as he grew increasingly confident that he will be able to return to some royal duties in the future, believing the public will soften their stance towards him

I learned that Andrew (pictured yesterday) spoke out as he grew increasingly confident that he will be able to return to some royal duties in the future, believing the public will soften their stance towards him

Prince Philip

Prince Philip

I was informed that Andrew (photo left yesterday) spoke out about his father (right) as he is increasingly confident that he will be able to return to some royal duties in the future, believing that the public will have their attitude towards him will soften

Philip also blamed Fergie a lot. He didn’t hate her, but he didn’t want anything to do with her.

“He didn’t understand why she and Andrew still lived together.”

Had it not been for the Epstein scandal, Andrew would have been expected to have taken on many royal duties left behind by Prince Philip and Prince Harry.

He is frustrated at being locked out because of pressure on his sister Princess Anne, brother Prince Edward and cousin Prince William to enter an increasing number of official engagements.

For years I have reported on Andrew’s special relationship with his mother, who is happy to give him the benefit of the doubt, but reluctantly accepted the advice of her advisers to rid him of all royal duties.

Andrew's allies are encouraged by allegations that Ghislaine Maxwell will not bring him up as a witness at her trial, even though he remains under a dark cloud for his lack of cooperation with the FBI Epstein investigation

Andrew's allies are encouraged by allegations that Ghislaine Maxwell will not bring him up as a witness at her trial, even though he remains under a dark cloud for his lack of cooperation with the FBI Epstein investigation

Andrew’s allies are encouraged by allegations that Ghislaine Maxwell will not bring him up as a witness at her trial, even though he remains under a dark cloud for his lack of cooperation with the FBI Epstein investigation

But Andrew still has her ear.

For example, the morning after his Newsnight interview was shown, Andrew went to church with the Queen and said to her, “It has all been a great success.”

During the pandemic, he continued to visit his mother, as they both live on the Windsor Estate.

They regularly ride together.

So regardless of his public status, the Queen will likely rely on Andrew for love and support in the darkest days to come, but it’s not known if that will have any bearing on his future role.

Until he agrees to cooperate fully with the FBI, it seems unlikely that the public or other high-ranking members of the royal family will embrace his presence.