Queen Elizabeth 'Insisted' She Be Escorted by Son Prince Andrew to Prince Philip's Memorial Service

The 95-year-old monarch entered the service on the arm of her son Prince Andrew — weeks after he settled his sexual assault lawsuit

After much speculation, Queen Elizabeth was in attendance for her beloved late husband Prince Philip's memorial service at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday morning. In an unexpected move, she arrived on the arm of her son Prince Andrew.

The Queen traveled by car from Windsor accompanied by her disgraced second son — six weeks after he settled a sexual assault lawsuit with his accuser Virginia Giuffre.

"It shows she wholeheartedly loves and believes her son," says royal commentator Robert Jobson. "As she did when she made a statement about Camilla being Queen's Consort, many people will now accept the Queen's word and judgment."

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Jobson, the author of Prince Philip's Century, says there was disquiet among senior members of the family, "but she insisted."

"It does make some sense that he accompany her because he doesn't have a partner. A settlement has been paid but he's guilty of nothing in the eyes of the law," he adds. "She has faith in Andrew. Even if he disappears from public life, he's been able to pay tribute to his father, who after all, was very proud of his service in the Royal Navy, where he fought in the Falkland Islands conflict."

Service of Thanksgiving for Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew. RICHARD POHLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

In the days leading up to the Service of Thanksgiving, it was not known whether the monarch, 95, would attend the ceremony in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh, who died last April at the age of 99. A royal source told PEOPLE that the monarch had hoped to attend, but that a decision will be made on the day.

Service of Thanksgiving for Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew. RICHARD POHLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Her appearance on Tuesday marks the first time the monarch has been at a public event outside of a royal residence since mid-October, when she visited Cardiff, Wales.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Special arrangements were made for the Queen's arrival on Tuesday. Instead of entering through the main door of Westminster Abbey — which would have meant walking the length of the aisle — she came through a side door with one arm on Andrew and the other on a walking cane.

Despite recent mobility issues, the Queen stood to pray and sing anthems throughout the service.

Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh
Queen Elizabeth. PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Queen Elizabeth has had to cancel several engagements due to contracting COVID-19 in February amid other health concerns. She also recently complained of mobility issues and has been using a walking cane.

As the first hymn "To Be a Pilgrim" was sung, the Queen emerged on Andrew's arm, making a slow, but steady stride to her seat. As they reached the front row, she left Andrew's side and took her seat next to Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Andrew sat across the aisle in the front row next to his younger brother Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The service marks Prince Andrew's first public event since he settled his court case with Giuffre. His daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and their husbands, Eduardo Mapelli Mozzi and Jack Brooksbank, were also in attendance.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte also made a surprise apperance at their great-grandfather's service. They arrived at Westminster Abbey alongside their parents, Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Prince Harry had previously announced that he would not be returning to the U.K. for his grandfather's service.

Prince George, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Princess Charlotte
Prince George, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Princess Charlotte. Samir Hussein/WireImage

Earlier this month, the monarch canceled her appearance at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. PEOPLE understands that the Queen's absence was not related to illness. There were discussions surrounding the monarch's comfort when it came to her travel arrangements and attending the service.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh pictured 1/6/2020 in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle ahead of his 99th birthday on Wednesday.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty

But she appeared in good health on Tuesday as she stepped out for the emotional service in honor of her husband of 73 years. Philip, who would have turned 100 on June 10, 2021, had been plagued by health issues in recent years after retiring from his public duties in August 2017.

The service at Westminster Abbey provided an opportunity for representatives of the many charities and organizations that Prince Philip worked with to pay tribute to him. Buckingham Palace revealed details of the ceremony on Monday evening, including poignant musical selections and floral arrangements inspired by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's wedding day.

According to the palace, the Queen has been actively involved in the plans for Tuesday's Service of Thanksgiving, with many elements reflecting her wishes.

Prince Philip Memorial, London, United Kingdom - 29 Mar 2022

The Duke of Edinburgh's funeral last April had a 30-person limit due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions, allowing for only his wife, four children, eight grandchildren and other close family members and friends to attend. The service on Tuesday incorporates several elements that had initially been planned for Philip's funeral that had to be scrapped due to COVID restrictions in place at the time.

There are also poignant details in place to honor Philip. The floral arrangements include white dendrobium orchids, which were part of Queen Elizabeth's wedding bouquet in 1947, and sea holly, which echoes the Duke of Edinburgh's career in the Navy and a lifelong love of the sea.

Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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The congregation also sang a hymn that was chosen by Prince Philip to be played at his funeral. Due to COVID-19 government guidelines last year, there was no congregational singing at the funeral service.

It was also Prince Philip's wish that clergy from the royal estates of Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral play a part in his funeral service, given his active role in the day-to-day management of the estates. Since their attendance wasn't possible last year due to restrictions in place, members of the various estate's clergy offered prayers at the Service of Thanksgiving.

In an address during the service, the Dean of Windsor said: "He would hate to think that I should paint a picture of him as a 'plaster saint;' someone without the usual human foibles and failings. He was far too self-aware ever to be taken in by flattery."

Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

"Of course, it must be said that his life bore the marks of sacrifice and service. Certainly, he could show great sympathy and kindness," he continued. "There is no doubt that he had a delightfully engaging, and often self-deprecating, sense of humor. It is quite clear that his mind held together both speculation and common sense.

"Moreover, nobody would ever doubt his loyalty and deep devotion to our Queen and to their family. Yet, there were times when he could be abrupt; maybe, in robust conversation, forgetting just how intimidating he could be. A kind of natural reserve sometimes made him seem a little distant. He could be somewhat sharp in pricking what he thought to be bubbles of pomposity or sycophancy. On the other hand, we should not forget that he himself was sometimes wounded by being unfairly criticized or misunderstood.

"Like the rest of us, he was part of flawed humanity. Unlike most of us, however, he was one of those rare people who remained true to, and guided by, what you might call 'an inner spiritual compass;' a sense of being called to play a part in the making of a God-intended world.

"As we give thanks for the life of a remarkable man, perhaps our greatest tribute to him, most especially in these far too troubled times, will be for us to accept the challenge, implicit in his life, to rekindle in our hearts something of that call, and to pray (as I think he did) for the inspiration and the guidance to play our part, however small, in working for a kinder future."

As she left the service, Queen Elizabeth stopped and chatted with a young woman who gave a speech during the service.

Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver and Gold award holder Doyin Sonibare
Doyin Sonibare. RICHARD POHLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Doyin Sonibare, a Gold Award Holder from The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, tells PEOPLE, "She thanked me for my speech. She asked me when I did my Duke of Edinburgh Award. She was really lovely, really kind."

Sonibare wore a dark green dress to the memorial — unknowingly matching with the Queen and other senior members of the royal family who wore the color in honor of Philip as it was the color of his livery. "It was a complete coincidence," she says with a smile. "But it's quite nice that we were all in sync."

Service of Thanksgiving for Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Queen Elizabeth. RICHARD POHLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Sonibare is an ambassador for the Duke of Edinburgh award program that helps young people with life skills and encourages community service.

"On reflection, I never thought I could do half of the things I have done in the last decade, yet I've been able to do so because of the opportunities presented to me," she said in her speech. "In 1956, when The Duke of Edinburgh created the Award, he had a vision to create a program which supported the development of young people all over the world. Today, you've learned how his legacy has impacted me and how it will continue to impact future generations to come."

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