The Queen and Sarah Ferguson Wish Prince Andrew a Happy Birthday Amid Jeffrey Epstein Scandal
The Duke of York has kept a low-profile since he stepped back from royal duties in November
Prince Andrew is ringing in his 60th birthday as the controversy surrounding his ties to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein continues.
Both the Royal Family and Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson took to Instagram on Wednesday to wish the prince, who has kept a low-profile in recent months, a happy 60th birthday.
The Royal Family, which is the official social media account for the Queen and other senior working royal family members, uploaded a black-and-white photo of the prince as a baby and another more recent portrait of the Duke of York.
“On this day in 1960, Prince Andrew was born at Buckingham Palace, the first child born to a reigning monarch for 103 years. Happy Birthday to The Duke of York,” the post read.
Ferguson’s post, which followed shortly after the palace uploaded their tribute, was a recent black-and-white photo of the Duke of York sitting on a couch with two of their family’s Norfolk terriers.
“Happy 60th Birthday to Andrew @alexbramall,” the post read, with Fergie tagging the photographer Alex Bramall, who also took Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding photos in 2018.
In November, Prince Andrew announced that he was stepping back from royal duties following the backlash of his bombshell BBC interview surrounding his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Consequently, his official royal role collapsed 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.
Despite the scandal, the prince remains tight-knit with his family, including the Duchess of York and his two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie (he is set to give Beatrice away at her upcoming royal wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi).
In a December interview with Vogue Arabia, Fergie, 60, opened up about how the fallout from her ex-husband’s interview had affected her family as a whole.
“It’s incredibly difficult,” she said. “When I talk about Prince Andrew, I talk about family because the last six months have been hard on the girls and me. To see such a wonderful man go through such enormous pain.”
She continued: “He is the best man I know. It’s just incredible what he has done for Britain, and it’s all nonsense, so I talk about familyhood, and I’m very strong about it. The mental health of men is important and I think it is vital to articulate that more.”
Fergie previously defended her ex-husband, with whom she’s remained very friendly, around the time of the BBC interview’s airing.
“It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs,” she wrote on Instagram. “Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness of always seeing the best in people.”
Can’t get enough of PEOPLE‘s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
She continued, “I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, that dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth.”
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth, 93, stepped out for official duty on her son’s birthday, opening the new premises of the Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals, both of which are undertaking groundbreaking research and new ways to treat rare conditions.