Queen 'relying heavily on son Prince Andrew in wake of Philip's death' but is 'thinking of others before herself'

THE Queen is "relying heavily" on Prince Andrew in the wake of her beloved husband's death, sources say.

However, her daughter-in-law Sophie Wessex says the monarch continues to think of others before herself – and called her "amazing".

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While there is no suggestion the Duke of York will return to his public duties, a palace source says he hopes to be a "rock" for his mother in the difficult days to come.

They told the Telegraph: "He is the closest to the Queen of any of her children and is her most frequent visitor, as he lives so close by.

"She has increasingly come to rely on him for support, and he is only too willing to give it."

It comes as:

  • Prince Philip thought Meghan and Harry's Oprah interview was "madness", it's claimed
  • The Queen went to church and walked her corgi puppies on her first Sunday without her beloved husband
  • Prince Harry has arrived back in the UK alone after medics advised his pregnant wife not to travel
  • The Duke of Sussex may be expected to not wear his military uniform at the funeral – although his brother will
  • Just 30 mourners will attend the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral – with Mike Tindall, Princess Alexandra and the Earl of Snowdon likely to be among those invited

Prince Andrew is understood to have been among the first to return to Windsor Castle to comfort his mother.

The Duke of York, who lives at the Royal Lodge on the Windsor estate, arrived at the back entrance to the Queen's private apartments on Friday morning.

Speaking publicly for the first time since he was interviewed by Emily Maitlis on Newsnight, he said yesterday his mother had a "huge void in her life".

The Duke paid tribute to his father after attending a Sunday service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge in Windsor with brother Edward and sister-in-law Sophie.

"We the family – the ones that are closer – are rallying round to make sure we're there," he said.

He added Brits have lost the "grandfather of the nation", and said his mother "is feeling it probably more than anyone else".

It is likely he might once have hoped for a more prominent role at his mother’s side.

However, publicly he continues to be haunted by his alleged links to the Epstein paedophile scandal.

Meanwhile, Edward said the Queen is "bearing up" – while Sophie said she is "thinking of others before herself".

And chatting to mourners after the service, she said the Duke died "gently".

"You know it's going to happen but when it happens it's just this massive, massive hole," she said.

"It was so gentle, it was just like someone took him by the hand and off he went.

"Very, very peaceful – and that's all you want with somebody isn't it?

"I think it's so much easier for the person that goes than the people left behind.

"We're all sitting here looking at each other going, 'This is awful'."

A close circle of the Queen's friends, family and aides have gathered around her after Philip's death.

One friend told the Times the Queen has received great support from her family, notably her children and Sophie – but those she feels most comfortable with are not necessarily family members. 

She is particularly close to her page Paul Whybrew, who appeared alongside Her Majesty in the James Bond sketch at the London 2012 games, and "humble" Angela Kelly, her personal assistant and senior dresser.

And the source said Prince Charles will be particularly concerned for his mother – while William is "devastated".

“[Charles] is such a sensitive, emotional man, he’ll really be feeling it and will be looking at his mother, worrying whether she’s all right,” the friend said.

“Prince William will be devastated.

"He and his grandmother have grown so much closer recently.

"Princess Anne will be very present, the whole family will rally, as they have been while Philip was fading.”

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