Queen Elizabeth II has made her first public outing in five months in order to pay tribute to the man she was married to for 73 years.
The British monarch and other members of her family gathered together Tuesday at London’s Westminster Abbey for a memorial service in honor of Prince Philip, who died nearly one year ago, on April 9, 2021, at age 99.
Though the queen’s attendance at the event remained uncertain until her arrival, as the 95-year-old has refrained from participating in public appearances since she was hospitalized in October due to an unspecified illness and later diagnosed with COVID-19 in February, she'd been hands-on in its planning.
A statement from Buckingham Palace revealed that "many elements" of the Service of Thanksgiving reflected her wishes, and that the memorial would feature additional elements first intended for Philip's funeral.
At the time of his death, COVID-19 restrictions meant that only 30 mourners were allowed to attend his service.
"The Service of Thanksgiving will incorporate some elements planned for the Funeral of The Duke of Edinburgh, which were unable to go ahead due to Covid restrictions in place at the time," statement read. "This includes Gold Award Holders from The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and representatives from UK Cadet Force Associations, step lining the entry routes into Westminster Abbey for Members of the Royal Family and other guests."
The queen wore a hat and coatdress in "Edinburgh green" to Tuesday's service, a shade associated with Philip, and she also wore a diamond and ruby brooch given to her by Philip in 1966.
And that wasn’t the only item that represented their bond. Among the many flowers at the event were orchids, which were featured in the queen’s wedding bouquet in 1947.
The queen entered the service alongside another royal making a rare recent appearance. Her son Prince Andrew escorted her, marking his first public appearance since he paid an undisclosed amount of money to settle a civil lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse. It was a scene that took some royal watchers aback.
“I think people’s initial reaction to that image was surprise, even shock,” royal correspondent Daily McAndrew explained during a video visit to TODAY Tuesday. “Digging into it a little deeper, I think there might be a number of explanations to that. ... Prince Andrew and the queen both live only live five minutes apart in Windsor, so we knew that Andrew was always going to travel up, escort his mother from Windsor to Buckingham Palace.”
But he wasn’t expected to escort her all the way into the abbey.
McAndrew suggested that a possibly explanation could be that, by escorting the queen, Andrew was allowed to enter the abbey through the side entrance, allowing him to bypass the media presence near the front entrance.