Queen back on duty after duke settles case

The Queen has held an in-person audience the day after the Duke of York settled his sexual assault lawsuit, meeting the official liaison between the sovereign and the armed forces.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 7:50 am

The 95-year-old monarch, who already had the official engagement set in her diary, met the incoming Defence Services Secretary Major General Eldon Millar, and his predecessor Rear Admiral James Macleod at Windsor Castle yesterday.

It is the head of state’s first in-person appearance since her Covid scare six days ago, suggesting she may have escaped the virus despite coming into contact with the Prince of Wales, who tested positive two days later.

It has been a challenging week for the monarch, despite having just reached her Platinum Jubilee, and the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth II with Rear Admiral James Macleod and Major General Eldon Millar (right) as she meets the incoming and outgoing Defence Service Secretaries during an in-person audience at Windsor Castle. Rear Admiral Macleod relinquished his appointment as Defence Services Secretary as Major General Millar assumed the role. Picture date: Wednesday February 16, 2022.

Her second son Andrew is facing a multi-million pound payout after settling his sex case out of court, her eldest son Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall caught Covid and now the Metropolitan Police has launched an investigation into a cash for honours scandal involving Charles’s charitable foundation.

Buckingham Palace has continued to refuse to confirm whether the Queen tested positive or negative, citing medical privacy, and saying last week only that she was not displaying any symptoms.

The defence services secretary is a member of the Royal Household, and they are the official link between the Queen and the secretary of state for defence and the chiefs of staff on all matters concerning the monarch’s relationship with the armed forces.

There will be much for Maj Gen Millar to discuss with the Queen, in the wake of Andrew losing his military titles.

Andrew agreed an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with Virginia Giuffre on Tuesday, after she sued him claiming she was trafficked by paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew’s friend, to have sex with the royal when she was 17 and a minor under US law.

The duke, who is facing a reported £12 million payout, was stripped of his honorary military roles by his mother last month.

But his royal replacements in eight British regiments – including the prestigious post of colonel of the Grenadier Guards – have yet to be announced.

Questions are also being raised over his service rank of vice admiral, but Buckingham Palace confirmed the situation has not changed and that the duke retains the rank.

As a former royal member of the armed forces who served in the Royal Navy, he was by convention promoted in line with his still-serving peers and made vice admiral by the Navy on his 55th birthday in 2015.

Other publicly unresolved issues surrounding the monarchy and the armed forces include the Duke of Sussex’s former military titles.