19/12/2019 9:04 AM AEDT

Prince Andrew Steps Out For Queen's Christmas Lunch At Palace

The Duke of York announced in November that he was backing away from royal duties for the foreseeable future.

Despite Prince Andrew stepping back from royal duties for the foreseeable future, the Duke of York is still attending private functions put on by the royal family. 

The prince was spotted on Wednesday arriving at Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth II’s annual Christmas lunch.

Aaron Chown - PA Images via Getty Images
The Duke of York drives his Bentley into the Buckingham Palace grounds in London as he arrives for Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas lunch. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Princess Anne and Princess Beatrice also attended the lunch, among others.

This comes just after the duke attended a party at the palace on Monday that the queen holds in honor of her staff each year. A spokesperson for the palace told HuffPost Tuesday that “any staff events would be entirely private and therefore not something we would comment on.” 

This may not be the last we see of the disgraced royal this year, as the duke is reportedly expected to make his first public appearance since November alongside the royal family on Christmas Day, while walking or driving with his relatives from Sandringham estate to St. Mary Magdalene Church. 

Andrew announced that he was stepping away from public duties last month, saying in a statement that his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein had “become a major disruption to my family’s work.”

The prince, who was accused of rape in a 2015 lawsuit put forth by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, attempted to clear his name and distance himself from Epstein in a disastrous interview with the BBC. 

Though he has steadfastly denied the rape accusations, the interview itself backfired when the prince refused to strongly condemn the late financier’s behavior in any way or express sympathy for victims of Epstein. 

In a statement after the interview, Andrew finally expressed regret for his “ill-judged association” with Epstein and said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.” 

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