Prince Andrew To Attend Garter Day Ceremony After COVID Recovery

Prince Andrew is planning to attend the Garter Day ceremony at St George's Chapel, Windsor on Monday after recovering from COVID-19, Newsweek has heard.

The event will mark Andrew's first public appearance since the service of thanksgiving for the life of his father Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey in March. The prince's attendance at the event caused widespread criticism over the prominence of his position, entering alongside the queen.

A source close to Prince Andrew told Newsweek: "The Duke is still planning to attend Garter Day." They said that he is now understood to be "COVID free."

Andrew will attend the ceremony in his capacity as one of the Knights of the Order of the Garter, England's oldest and highest order of chivalry. Despite surrendering his military patronages and the public use of his HRH (His Royal Highness) title, Andrew is still a Knight of the Garter which is an honor in the personal gift of the queen.

Prince Andrew Garter Day Service
A source close to Prince Andrew has told Newsweek that the royal plans on attending the Garter Day service alongside other family members at Windsor this month. Photographed June 17, 2013. Will Oliver/WPA Pool/Getty Images

This year's Garter Day ceremony will mark the first since 2019, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on public gatherings.

Andrew's attendance at the event will be unwelcome to many as it forms part of what some have claimed to be a campaign by the prince to rehabilitate his public image in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct brought against him by Jeffrey Epstein victim, Virginia Giuffre in 2019.

In court documents released in 2019, Giuffre claimed Epstein had forced her to have sexual relations with Andrew when she was 17. The prince denied this and after intense media scrutiny, took part in an interview with BBC's Newsnight in which he claimed to have "no recollection" of ever meeting Giuffre.

The interview was viewed as a "car crash" in the British media and following its broadcast, organizations and charities associated with Andrew publicly severed ties with him.

Following this a statement was released from Buckingham Palace on behalf of the prince reading: "It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support.

"Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission."

He then went on to state: "I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."

Giuffre filed a lawsuit against Andrew in 2021 and in a statement released at the time said: "I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions."

In response, the royal's legal team made repeated attempts to have the case thrown out on technical grounds but were ultimately denied.

The lawsuit came to an abrupt end in February 2022 when it was revealed that Andrew had settled the case out of court for an estimated $10 million. This followed the decision made by the queen in January to strip Andrew of his military patronages.

The decision to settle the lawsuit has been widely criticized and the timing of doing so before the queen's Platinum Jubilee led to reports speculating that it was done to avoid overshadowing the national celebrations.

It is understood that Andrew was intending to take part in those celebrations including the national service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral alongside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as well as members of the extended royal family.

Garter Day Service Royal Family Members
The Knights of the Order of the Garter include among their number Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew. Photographed June 18, 2018. Steve Parsons/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The announcement the day before the service that Andrew had tested positive for COVID and would therefore be unable to attend was seen by some as a convenient way of keeping the problematic prince from overshadowing the event.

A source close to the prince at the time told Newsweek: "After testing positive for COVID, The Duke is naturally disappointed and saddened that he will not be able to join other royal family members at St Paul's Cathedral for a Service of Thanksgiving in celebration of the Queen's 70-year reign."

The royal's intention to be present at the Garter Day ceremony will see him shoulder to shoulder with the rest of his family for the first time since Prince Philip's memorial, however, owing to "episodic mobility problems" it is unknown whether the queen will also attend.

Newsweek reached out to Prince Andrew's team for comment.

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