Prince Andrew was pictured riding a horse at Windsor Castle today following reports his life as a working royal ‘is finished’.
The Queen’s second son, 60, stepped back from official engagements a year ago in the wake of his disastrous BBC interview regarding the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.
He’s thought to have waged a quiet PR salvo in recent weeks, suggesting he was preparing to return to the public eye and ‘serve his country again’ – yet sources told The Daily Mail that this is highly unlikely to happen.
But the Duke of York, who lives at the Royal Lodge just three miles away from the Berkshire residence, appeared to push any concerns aside as he donned a blue coat and helmet for a horse ride, accompanied by a female groom.
The eighth in line to the throne was spotted where his mother and father, the Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, are currently isolating – but appeared slightly irritated as his vehicle was caught behind walkers on The Long Walk.
Prince Andrew (pictured right) was pictured riding a horse at Windsor Castle today following reports his life as a working royal ‘is finished’
The Queen’s second son (pictured), 60, stepped back from official engagements a year ago in the wake of his disastrous BBC interview regarding the Jeffrey Epstein scandal
Prince Andrew was seen out for a morning drive through Windsor Great Park in his Range Rover, accompanied by a security detail in the car.
Wearing a mask, he was seen at the wheel of his large black vehicle as he made his way up The Long Walk to Windsor Castle.
Multiple sources told The Daily Mail last week that it is highly unlikely Prince Andrew will ever return to life as a working royal, even if the Duke of York does finally speak to US officials over his close friendship with to convicted paedophile Epstein.
There is still no word from him about how and when Andrew might talk to US officials, despite US prosecutors making clear it is a priority for them.
‘This is as much about judgment shown over the issue, as the allegations themselves,’ one well-placed source cautioned.
Prince Andrew was seen out for a morning drive through Windsor Great Park in his Range Rover, accompanied by a security detail in the car (pictured)
‘Even if the duke were to resolve matters satisfactorily over [Epstein], there is still an issue about [his] lack of understanding over the seriousness of the situation and not accepting that the relationship was wrong.’
They added: ‘I am not sure there will ever be an opportunity for him to return.’
Another royal insider said: ‘The reality… is that there is no negotiation of a new role, and there never will be, as there could never be a version of representation that could work.’
Another said emphatically: ‘This just isn’t even on the agenda or being discussed in any way.’
For more than a decade Prince Andrew has been dogged by claims about his close friendship with multi-millionaire financier Epstein, who killed himself last year while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.
Wearing a mask, he was seen at the wheel of his large black vehicle as he made his way up The Long Walk to Windsor Castle (pictured)
Last November Andrew gave his side of the story to Emily Maitlis on the BBC’s Newsnight programme but the interview appeared to be a disaster and the public fury forced him to withdraw from public life ‘for the foreseeable future’.
The Queen’s second son has been accused of failing to help US prosecutors in their investigation into Epstein and the financier Ghislaine Maxwell.
Prince Andrew has come under further pressure to cooperate with the FBI after a second deposition was given by Maxwell, the alleged madam for his paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein.
The British socialite, who is jail in New York awaiting trial on child sex trafficking and perjury charges, was questioned three months after being grilled for seven hours.
The transcript from that first interview was published last month, and lawyers for Maxwell are now expected to fight to keep the second one from July 2016 private.
But the 58-year-old’s team will face a battle with lawyers for Epstein’s victim Virginia Roberts who are expected to argue it should be published in full, reported The Sun.
The Queen’s second son has been accused of failing to help US prosecutors in their investigation into Epstein and the financier Ghislaine Maxwell (pictured together in 2005)
Ms Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, claims she had sex with the Duke of York three times when she was aged 17, but he strenuously denies the allegations.
A source close to the case told the Sun that Maxwell was asked to answer questions she did not answer in the first interview in the April, and that Andrew ‘did come up’.
But a source close to the duke told MailOnline: ‘The Duke has done nothing unlawful and therefore has nothing to fear from the unsealing of any documents from any court case at any time. The truth will out, and soon.’
Documents from the first interview released last month revealed Andrew repeatedly labelled Ms Giuffre ‘a liar’, claiming ‘everything she said is a lie’.
The exchange was in a phone call between the two as scandal swirled around them when Ms Giuffre made bombshell claims she was forced to sleep with the prince.