Prince Andrew was heckled Monday as he walked behind the coffin of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, through the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland, on the way to a service of thanksgiving for her life.
The outburst from a member of the public occurred during a procession from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where the queen’s body was transferred from Balmoral Castle on Saturday, to St. Giles’ Cathedral before the service.
During official coverage of the procession, a young man was recorded yelling “Andrew! You’re a sick old man!” before the audio was faded out by broadcasters. The unidentified man was dragged out of the frame of the cameras by an unknown person or persons, with members of the crowd shouting “God save the king” after the outburst.
Andrew was walking alongside his brothers, King Charles III and Prince Edward, and his sister, Princess Anne, in the procession. All three of the prince’s siblings were dressed in armed forces uniforms. But he was not, having been stripped of his military patronages and roles in February by his mother following a sexual assault scandal resulting from a lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre the previous year.
This scandal was the expected cause for the outburst during the possession. Andrew’s public image has suffered almost irrecoverably from the fallout, and he has become the most unpopular member of the royal family, according to polling in May. His net positive favorability percentage was -80.
The next most unpopular member of the family, according to YouGov, is Meghan Markle, with a net positive favorability percentage of -42.
Andrew stepped down temporarily from public life in 2019 following a disastrous interview on BBC’s Newsnight. He was questioned about his associations with the recently deceased Epstein, a U.S. financier charged with a series of sexual crimes involving underage girls.
During the interview, Andrew tried to distance himself from Epstein, but he also called the financier “extraordinary” and described his dinner parties in an uncomfortably positive manner for some viewers.
“It would be a considerable stretch to say that he was a very, very close friend,” Andrew told Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis.
“But he had the most extraordinary ability to bring extraordinary people together, and that’s the bit that I remember, as going to the dinner parties where you would meet academics, politicians, people from the United Nations. I mean, it was a cosmopolitan group of what I would describe as U.S. eminents.”
Later in the interview, the prince denied having any recollection of meeting Giuffre, who has alleged that the royal had intercourse with her while she was 17. That is under the age of consent in Florida, where she filed a lawsuit against the prince. Andrew has denied Giuffre’s accusations.
After the broadcast in November 2019, Andrew was widely condemned for appearing to discredit Giuffre and failing to take accountability for his poor judgment in associating with Epstein.
A swiftly released statement from the prince via Buckingham Palace read: “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support.
“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission,” the statement said.
In August 2021, Giuffre filed her Florida lawsuit over the sexual allegations, but his legal team attempted to have it thrown out on a number of grounds.
In February 2022, with the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II approaching in June, it was announced that the prince had settled the suit out of court for an estimated sum in excess of $10 million. As part of the settlement, the prince maintained his claim of innocence.
There was speculation that in the months following the settlement Andrew would make a return to public life.
His first official appearance at a state event, the memorial service for his father, Prince Philip, at Westminster Abbey in March, brought with it widespread criticism of both the prince and Queen Elizabeth. Her judgment at letting him escort her to her seat at the abbey was called into question.
The second official appearance the prince has made was this past Saturday, when he viewed floral tributes to his mother left outside Scotland’s Balmoral Castle. He is expected to play a prominent role in the queen’s state funeral, which is set for September 19 in London.