Prince Andrew has 'tough task' to return to public duties despite increase in popularity after Prince Philip funeral

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read

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Prince Andrew would have a tough task returning to public duties despite seeing a rise in his favourability rankings since his father's funeral.

A poll of more than 1,700 British adults conducted by YouGov after the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh found that people thought more positively of Andrew than they had in November 2019.

The survey recorded a rise of 3% of those who thought of him fairly positively, which put him up to 10% overall, although he is still overwhelmingly viewed negatively.

However, any suggestion that he might be seeking a return to public life could be quashed by the overwhelming negative review of him that remains. 

The bounce up was matched by the same points drop in those who thought negatively of him, down from 82% to 79%.

The percentage of those who didn't know if they felt positively or negatively stayed at 11%.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 11: Prince Andrew, Duke of York, attends the Sunday Service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor, following the announcement on Friday April 9th of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99, on April 11, 2021 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Andrew after the Sunday Service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, a few days after his father's death. (WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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Nigel Cawthorne, who wrote Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace, said: "It is always a hard thing to lose a father and no doubt there is some sympathy in Britain for this. 

"It looks, however, as if Andrew has a tougher task ahead if he wants to come back to the frontline of the Royal Family. His polling figures among the top of his own family seem to have remained equal at nil points."

Andrew, 61, is still "stepped back" from his senior royal duties after a disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight in November 2019 about his friendship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

His position out of royal life seems to have been cemented earlier this week when his brother took over one of his patronages, at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).

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Andrew was relinquished of his patronage of the RPO after the interview in November 2019, and Charles has now been named as the new patron.

RPO managing director James Williams said: "At the RPO, we have been hard at work for some months, shaping a bold strategy for our concert, community engagement, inclusion and education programmes to enrich communities when it matters most; we aim to help people and businesses to rebuild after the long, dark months of lockdown.

"With the announcement of the Prince of Wales as our patron and the appointment of Vasily Petrenko as our new music director, the RPO is well placed to lead the resurgence and spread the joy of orchestral music in a post-COVID world."

Andrew was involved with the RPO for 15 years.

After months of no public appearances, the Duke of York spoke to a TV reporter outside one of the chapels in the grounds of Windsor following a service in the days after his father's death, saying "we've lost almost the grandfather of the nation".

He said of the Queen's reaction to Philip's death: "She described it as having left a huge void in her life.

"But we - the family, the ones that are closer - are rallying round to make sure that we're there to support her, and I know there is a huge amount of support not just for her but for everybody as we go through this enormous change."

He said: "It's a terrible loss. My father said to me on the telephone a few months ago that we're all in the same boat, and we must all remember that.

"But occasionally we, the family, are asked to stand up and show compassion and leadership.

"And unfortunately, with my father's death, it has brought it home to me not just our loss but actually the loss that everybody else has felt for so many people who've lost loved ones during the pandemic."

Britain's Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, looks on during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 99, in Windsor, Britain, April 17, 2021. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS
Prince Andrew at the funeral of his father Prince Philip. (Reuters)

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He added: "And so we are all in the same boat - slightly different circumstances because he didn't die from COVID but we're all feeling a great sense of loss."

The Duke of York has not been stripped of any of his titles since he was forced to step back, but has deferred a Royal Navy promotion to the rank of Admiral, which he would have received last year. 

He has not been charged with any offences, but has been accused by Virginia Roberts Giuffre of having sex with her when she was trafficked by Epstein. He denies the accusations.

He said he would cooperate with the FBI's investigation into Epstein but officials in the US say he has not spoken to them.