London: Disgraced Prince Andrew is making what is expected to be a brief return to the public eye to mourn his mother Queen Elizabeth II, serving as an unwelcome distraction for the grieving royal family.
The 62-year-old Duke of York stood out on Monday as he walked behind the queen´s coffin in Edinburgh, the only child of the late monarch in civilian dress while his siblings Charles, Anne and Edward wore honorary military uniforms.
The father-of-two was banished from public view and stripped of his military titles earlier in the year amid a public outcry over accusations that he sexually abused a 17-year-old girl.
His role during 11 days of national mourning is one of several awkward issues for the House of Windsor which must also contend with a rift between heir to the throne Prince William and his younger brother Harry.
"Andrew, you´re a sick old man!" a heckler shouted as the former Royal Navy helicopter pilot walked in silence behind a hearse carrying Elizabeth II´s body to the 12th-century Cathedral of St Giles in Edinburgh.
Over the weekend, Andrew also joined fellow senior royals in greeting the public outside Balmoral Castle, where the queen died last Thursday, and in receiving her coffin as it arrived in the Scottish capital.
Robert Hazell, a constitutional expert at University College London, said he expected Charles to keep his younger brother in the wilderness, not least because the new king wanted a "slimmed down" royal family.
"As a member of the family, as son of the queen, he (Andrew) is understandably mourning his mother," Hazell said.
"I would be very surprised if there is any role for the Duke of York in the future."
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