Queen attends church with Prince Andrew following Harry and Meghan deal
PUBLISHED: 13:10 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:10 19 January 2020
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.
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.
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."
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.
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".
"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.
"I think that now they've agreed to pay back Frogmore I think a lot of people will appreciate that."