The Major Ways Prince Andrew's Life Has Changed Since The Queen's Death

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, had a close relationship. When Elizabeth died on September 8, 2022, Andrew rushed to Balmoral Castle with his family, although he wasn't able to be with his mother before she died. Andrew later released a tribute to her, saying, "Mummy, your love for a son, your compassion, your care, your confidence I will treasure forever," per The Guardian.

Before his mother's death, the duke was already going through a significant amount of turmoil. In 2019, a calamitous interview with "Newsnight" regarding his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein ended his career as a working royal. By January 2022, the queen repossessed Andrew's royal patronages and military affiliations, prohibiting him from officially using the title "His Royal Highness." Although Andrew was able to settle out of court with Virginia Giuffre in a sex abuse case in February 2022, his royal reputation remained damaged. A month and a half later, the duke was only able to re-enter the spotlight when Elizabeth permitted him to support her as she entered Westminster Abbey for Prince Philip's memorial service. 

However, despite his eagerness to participate in events, a COVID-19 diagnosis kept Andrew out of Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee celebration. After that, it was thought that Elizabeth's funeral might be one of his last public appearances. Along with living a more private life, Andrew's life since the queen's death has included other impactful changes for him.

Prince Andrew lost a close confidante

From childhood, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, had a tight connection with Queen Elizabeth. By the time Andrew was born in 1960, Elizabeth was comfortable with her royal responsibilities. In addition, with nearly 10 years between Andrew and his next oldest sibling, Anne, Princess Royal, the queen was seemingly excited to have a newborn at home again. "The baby is adorable," she wrote to a cousin at the time, per the Daily Mail. "He's going to be terribly spoilt by all of us, I'm sure."

Their mother-son closeness remained during the queen's final years, particularly amid the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Living at Royal Lodge just a short distance from Windsor Castle, he would see her on an almost daily basis," author Phil Dampier informed the Daily Mail. "He supported her when she was more frail, and was always there for her in person or on the phone whenever she needed him."

This support between mother and son was mutual, even during the fallout of Andrew's association with Jeffery Epstein. After Elizabeth died, Andrew missed having her as a confidante. In July 2023, Sarah Ferguson revealed that Andrew continued to mourn his parents. On her "Tea Talks" podcast, Andrew's ex-wife recounted how she asked Andrew how he was feeling during a walk with the queen's beloved corgis. "He said it's lonely. He thinks about it a lot," Fergie recalled.

He supported his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson post-breast cancer surgery

Despite being divorced since 1996, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Duke and Duchess of York, have maintained a close relationship. "We're the happiest divorced couple in the world," Fergie informed the Daily Mail in 2018. "We're divorced to each other, not from each other. ... I stand by him and always will." 

Likewise, Andrew has expressed a similar attachment to his ex-wife. In 2019, the duke gave an emotional tribute to Fergie in honor of her 60th birthday. Remembering a pivotal day in 1985, Andrew said, per The Telegraph, "I fell in love with her at that lunch and I have never stopped loving her." As a testament to his dedication to the duchess, Andrew helped care for Fergie after she returned home to Royal Lodge following a grueling eight-hour breast cancer surgery. About a month later, Andrew was spotted taking her on a drive around Windsor. 

The former couple's staunch friendship and loyalty to one another in difficult situations is also evident to the people around them. "They're utterly devoted and would defend each other to the death," a former courtier told Express

Prince Andrew's time at Royal Lodge was on shaky ground

Prince Andrew has been at the forefront of some royal housing drama. After requesting that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, leave their U.K. residence, Frogmore Cottage, in early 2023, King Charles reportedly wanted his younger brother to move there and leave Royal Lodge, where he has lived since 2003. Sarah Ferguson, his ex-wife, has also lived on the property since 2008. Despite its opulence and large size of 30 rooms, one source informed The Telegraph that Royal Lodge was "probably the most normal family home of anyone in that family."

Andrew wasn't on board with downsizing, given that he had a 75-year lease and sentimental attachment to the estate. Even with his yearly £249,000 allowance from the Duchy of Lancaster being eliminated, and a continuing requirement to pay for expensive home maintenance costs, Andrew reportedly refused to move out of Royal Lodge.

However, it seems Charles changed his plans in light of Fergie's breast cancer surgery recovery. "The last thing the king needs is headlines suggesting that he is vindictive or heartless," former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond informed OK!, per Express. "I think he has decided to let the issue of Royal Lodge quietly disappear for the time being, especially while Sarah recovers from her mastectomy."

He welcomed a new grandchild

Fortunately for Prince Andrew, the months following Queen Elizabeth's death had some good news. On May 30, 2023, Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Duke and Duchess of York, became grandparents for the third time, after their younger daughter, Princess Eugenie, gave birth to her second baby, Ernest George Ronnie Brooksbank. They first became grandparents in February 2021, when August, Eugenie's first child, was born.  Their second grandbaby, Princess Beatrice's daughter, Sienna, arrived in September that same year. 

According to Fergie, Andrew is a very enthusiastic grandparent. "He's really good, he can go for hours talking about football, and those things," she explained on "Lorraine" in 2021, per Hello! "It's a joy to see him really shine as a grandfather." As an author of 48 children's books, Fergie is full of confidence around young kids, telling ¡Hola! (via Hello!), "I'm probably one of the best grannies ever." Even so, she feels a bit competitive with Andrew. "I worry he's a better grandparent than me!" she informed The Telegraph.

Prince Andrew's life out of the spotlight seems permanent

Due to Queen Elizabeth's unconditional maternal love for Prince Andrew, Duke of York, he reportedly viewed the late monarch as the only person who would be able to reinstate him as a working member of The Firm, per the Daily Mail. Now, King Charles has reportedly drawn a hard line on Andrew's role. "The King is absolutely resolute that there can be no return to public duties for the Duke of York," a source told The Telegraph. "He has always been clear that the Duke is a much-loved member of the family, but that does not mean there will be a change in tack when it comes to his royal status." Andrew's inclusion in family outings was evident during the royals' first summer vacation in Scotland following the queen's death, as the duke rode alongside his nephew, William, Prince of Wales, as the family headed to church together. 

Since becoming king, Charles has seemed to be erring on the side of caution and steering clear of the negative PR that could come if Andrew were back in the spotlight. This decision could also help the duke and the rest of the family. "Without genuine and totally convincing humility, and satisfactory explanations for the past questions, a premature return could kill off his chances of a rehabilitation forever, and further damage the monarchy," Sir Anthony Seldon, an author and historian informed the BBC.