Queen Elizabeth Attends Church with Prince Andrew amid Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Exit
The royal matriarch, 93, was spotted Sunday morning attending church in Sandringham with Andrew, 59, who announced in November that he was stepping back from royal duties following the backlash of his interview surrounding his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
All smiles throughout their outing, the monarch wore a heavy black and white winter jacket, black gloves and a gray hat.
This is the first time the Queen and her son have been photographed together since November, following his decision to step back from public life “for the foreseeable future.” Although Andrew did join his family for their Christmas festivities in Sandringham, he kept his appearance under the radar, skipping the annual walk and attending an earlier service.
The fallout from Andrew’s disastrous BBC interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Epstein saw his official royal role collapse to almost nothing in a matter of days. He was removed from his hundreds of charitable patronages and his office was forced out of Buckingham Palace.
The decision “shows that the royals can move very swiftly and very ruthlessly,” royal historian Robert Lacey previously told PEOPLE.
While Andrew will not perform any more public duties as a member of the royal family, sources told PEOPLE that not much else would change.
“He remains a member of the royal family,” a royal source said. “As a royal colonel and a war veteran, you can expect to see him at Remembrance Sunday. You can expect to see him on the balcony at Trooping the Colour too.”
On Saturday, the Queen finally provided a conclusion to the public on her grandson and his wife’s unprecedented decision to step down as senior royals.
“Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family,” the Queen said in a statement on Saturday.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life. I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family,” the statement read. “It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”
The new change will take effect in Spring 2020, according to a separate statement from Buckingham Palace.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments,” the statement said.
“They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties. With The Queen’s blessing, the Sussexes will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations. While they can no longer formally represent The Queen, the Sussexes have made clear that everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty,” the statement continued.
“The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home. Buckingham Palace does not comment on the details of security arrangements. There are well established independent processes to determine the need for publicly- funded security,” the statement concluded.