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Queen attends church with Prince Andrew following Harry and Meghan deal

PUBLISHED: 13:10 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:10 19 January 2020

Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Prince Andrew joined the Queen to attend a Sunday service in Norfolk on her first appearance following the announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be stepping back from the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of York arrive to attend a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireQueen Elizabeth II and The Duke of York arrive to attend a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Wearing a grey houndstooth checked dress and matching coat with a grey hat, the monarch smiled broadly as she arrived at St Mary the Virgin in Hillington, close to the Sandingham estate.

In a statement issued after royal family talks concluded on Saturday, the Sussexes announced they will stop carrying out royal duties from the spring, no longer use HRH and will repay the taxpayers' millions spent on their Berkshire home.

Queen Elizabeth II arrives to attend a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireQueen Elizabeth II arrives to attend a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Harry and Meghan said that under the agreement they understood they were "required" to step back from royal duties.

The Queen said she recognised the "challenges" the couple had faced over the past year, and added: "It is my whole family's hope that today's agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life."

Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of York arrive to attend a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireQueen Elizabeth II and The Duke of York arrive to attend a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The announcements from the young royals have raised fresh questions about Andrew's ongoing role in the royal family.

The Duke of York stepped down from royal duties in November following his disastrous Newsnight interview over his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. However, Andrew has so-far kept his HRH title. He reportedly faces changes to his security in the wake of Harry and Meghan's decision to leave the monarchy and split their time between the UK and Canada.

The Duke of York and Queen Elizabeth II leave after attending a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireThe Duke of York and Queen Elizabeth II leave after attending a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

He appeared close to the Queen as she arrived at church today in stark contrast to Christmas Day, where he was only spotted at the more private 9am Sandringham service, avoiding the cameras and crowds at the 11am service.

Among the crowds of well-wishers today, Royal fan Rosie Viles, from nearby Hunstanton, came to the church with her six-year-old granddaughter Imogen Viles, said the issue of Megxit, as it has been dubbed by the media, would have been "stressful" for the Queen, "but she sorts it all out, always does".

Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture:  Joe Giddens/PA WireQueen Elizabeth II leaves after attending a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

"It's not a surprise what has happened," said Mrs Viles. "It's sad but it's his decision.

"He perhaps thinks of his mum and doesn't want the pressure for his wife and child.

The Duke of York arrives to attend a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireThe Duke of York arrives to attend a morning church service at St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Norfolk. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

"I think that now they've agreed to pay back Frogmore I think a lot of people will appreciate that."

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