Prince Andrew has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss a scheduled Platinum Jubilee appearance “with regret,” Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.
The Duke of York, disgraced from his association with the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, had been set to attend the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 3, alongside other members of the royal family. The service, part of the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, will commemorate Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne.
A source close to the duke told HuffPost that Andrew “is naturally disappointed and saddened that he will not be able to join other royal family members” at the service.
Andrew had been in contact with the queen “in the last few days,” the palace said. But he had not had contact with his mother, Queen Elizabeth, after testing positive, according to royal reporter and “Finding Freedom” author Omid Scobie.
Prince Andrew’s presence at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations was a source of controversy. He recently reached an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Giuffre, who accused him in a lawsuit filed in New York City of sexually assaulting and abusing her when she was a minor in 2001.
Andrew continues to deny the allegations.
Because of his associations with Epstein, a disastrous interview with BBC’s “Newsnight” and his settlement of Giuffre’s lawsuit, the royal publicly stepped back from royal duties in 2019. In January, Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages.
Considering the scandal, it was a shock when the duke escorted his mother to a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in honor of her late husband, Prince Philip, in March.
Andrew’s role was seemingly downsized for the scheduled Trooping the Colour and Platinum Jubilee celebrations this month.
In May, Buckingham Palace announced that only working members of the royal family would appear on the palace balcony, which meant the exclusion of Andrew, along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and their children.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are back in the U.K. for the jubilee celebrations, and Meghan was spotted on Thursday watching the Trooping the Colour parade.