PRINCE Andrew was spotted heading for lunch with the Queen just hours after being banned from today's Order of the Garter service.
The snubbed Duke, who is hoping for a royal comeback, looked downcast on his way to a behind-the-scenes meal at Windsor Castle.
The 62-year-old had hoped to appear publicly at the ceremony alongside other royals, and his name even appeared on the order of service.
But in an eleventh hour decision by Her Majesty, said to be influenced by Charles and William, he was barred from the procession.
He is, however, permitted to attend a private lunch and investiture ceremony.
The monarch, 96, will also attend, but she is unlikely to appear in public elements of the event like her second son.
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The Queen allegedly ordered Andrew to stay out of sight "for his own good" following tense family talks.
Charles and William are said to have raised fears of a public "backlash" and potential booing if he were seen in public at a royal engagement.
The duke's reputation has been severely tarnished by his involvement in a civil sexual assault case.
But he is reportedly plotting a royal comeback, having asked his mother to return his patronages and HRH title just five months after he was stripped of them.
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He lost his honours amid the highly-damaging case brought against him by sex abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre, 38, which led to a multi-milllion pound payout in February.
A source said: "He was confident and bullish he can make a comeback."
But now, the duke will not join family members in their velvet robes to walk to the ceremony at St George's Chapel, or catch carriages back to Windsor Castle.
And his future as a working royal remains up in the air.
The source added: "It was a decision taken by the household for the best interests of the family but also the best interests of the Duke of York."
The Queen has previously signalled her support for Andrew – rumoured to be her favourite child – by arriving with him for the Duke of Edinburgh's memorial service in March.
Andrew provided a steady arm as she walked into Westminster Abbey to remember the life of her husband, a few weeks after he reached the out-of-court settlement.
But there has been speculation senior royals did not approve of his appearance, and the monarch appears to have conceded.
He was confident and bullish he can make a comeback.
It follows his departure from public life after the furore over his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
He later reportedly paid £12million to a woman he claims never to have met to settle the civil sexual assault case.
The duke was cast out of the working monarchy after Ms Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17, which Andrew denies.
He had been due to join the wider royal family at a service of thanksgiving in St Paul's Cathedral on the second of the four-day Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this month.
But ahead of the ceremony, it was announced that he had caught Covid and could therefore no longer attend.
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At the Order of the Garter later, which has not been held since 2019 due to the pandemic, members of the public will gather to see the Royal Family make the walk from the castle’s Quadrangle downhill to the chapel.
During Monday's service, the Duchess of Cornwall will be installed as a Royal Lady of the Order of the Garter.
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