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Prince Charles walks alongside Prince Andrew to Sandringham service in sibling show of support after Epstein scandal

SCANDAL-HIT Prince Andrew was supported by his older brother today at Sandringham as he made his first public appearance since his disastrous BBC interview.

Prince Andrew, who has had a tumultuous end to the year after his car crash Newsnight interview, walked side by side with Charles to a private service at 9am but did not attend the 11am public service.

Prince Andrew attended the church service with his brother Charles in a show of solidarity
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Credit: PA:Press Association Prince Andrew attended the church service with his brother Charles in a show of solidarity Credit: PA: Press Association
The scandal-hit royal was supported by his brother Charles
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Credit: PA:Press Association The scandal-hit royal was supported by his brother Charles Credit: PA: Press Association

He stayed at Sandringham House away from the crowds to spend time with the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duke was absent as family members left the church after the service to greet well-wishers.

Andrew had faced a public backlash after his calamitous BBC interview where he failed to express any sympathy for the victims of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew said he did not regret having been a friend of Epstein, who killed himself in jail aged 66 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.

The Duke was also ridiculed over his repeated denials of any sexual relationship with then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts.

He claimed he had taken his daughter Princess Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking on the night he is accused of sleeping with Roberts, a "sex slave" of Epstein.

Following a public backlash interview, the Duke was stripped of his royal duties and £ 249,000 sovereign grant.

The 93-year-old Queen, wearing a red coat and hat, arrived at the church in a maroon Bentley with the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, who was discharged from hospital on Christmas Eve, was at Sandringham but did not attend church.

He had spent four nights at the King Edward VII Hospital in London to receive treatment for a "pre-existing condition".

Philip, who retired from public duties in 2017, did not attend last year's church service either despite being in good health at the time.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were also absent this year, instead opting to spend seven-month-old Archie's first Christmas with the Duchess's mother, Doria Ragland, in Canada.

However Prince George and Princess Charlotte attended the annual Christmas church gathering for the first time.

George six, and four-year-old Charlotte walked the short distance from Sandringham House to St Mary Magdalene Church hand in hand with their proud parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Prince Charles walked alongside them.

After the service at St Mary Magdalene Church, Princess Charlotte was spotted mingling with members of the public and spreading some festive joy while clutching an inflatable pink flamingo.

Others attending the main morning service included Princess Beatrice and her fiance, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

George, aged six, and four-year-old Charlotte, walked hand in hand with their parents
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Credit: PA:Press Association George, aged six, and four-year-old Charlotte, walked hand in hand with their parents Credit: PA: Press Association
Charlotte hugs a member of the public as she spreads some festive joy
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Credit: Reuters Charlotte hugs a member of the public as she spreads some festive joy Credit: Reuters
Charlotte, clutching a pink flamingo, hugs a well wisher
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Credit: PA:Press Association Charlotte, clutching a pink flamingo, hugs a well wisher Credit: PA: Press Association
Prince George, along with Prince William, was also seen greeting the public
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Credit: AP:Associated Press Prince George, along with Prince William, was also seen greeting the public Credit: AP: Associated Press
George made his first appearance at the Christmas Day church service in Sandringham, in Norfolk
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Credit: AFP or licensors George made his first appearance at the Christmas Day church service in Sandringham, in Norfolk Credit: AFP or licensors
The Queen arriving at the church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
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Credit: PA:Press Association The Queen arriving at the church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham Credit: PA: Press Association
The Queen arrived today without her husband, who was discharged from hospital yesterday
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Credit: PA:Press Association The Queen arrived today without her husband, who was discharged from hospital yesterday Credit: PA: Press Association
The Earl of Wessex and daughter Lady Louise Windsor arriving for the service
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Credit: PA:Press Association The Earl of Wessex and daughter Lady Louise Windsor arriving for the service Credit: PA: Press Association
Members of the general public queue up to view the arrival of royals this morning
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Credit: AP:Associated Press Members of the general public queue up to view the arrival of royals this morning Credit: AP: Associated Press

In her Christmas Day TV message the Queen will refer to her family's "bumpy" 2019 and the nation's Brexit divisions.

The year has been labelled her second "annus horribilis"-the Latin phrase she used to describe 1992 after the marriages of three of her children collapsed.

This time, son Prince Andrew, 59, has been mired in the scandal of his friendship with US paedo Epstein and claims he slept with a teen sex slave.

Husband Prince Philip, who was admitted to hospital after the speech was recorded, was involved in a car accident at the start of the year.

The duke faced criticism for taking too long to contact the occupants of the other car and for being seen driving without his seat-belt in the days that followed.

And the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have spoken about their struggles living in the public eye.

Brexit has divided the country and Parliament, leading to huge uncertainty.

Her Majesty's comment is thought to be her first public reference to the personal events her family has experienced this year.

Elsewhere the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released a new photograph showing the duke kissing his youngest son, Louis, alongside George and Charlotte.

The picture was posted by Kensington Palace on Twitter with the message: "Merry Christmas to all our followers!"

Prince Philip was treated at hospital as a precaution for a 'pre-existing condition'
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Credit: Reuters Prince Philip was treated at hospital as a precaution for a 'pre-existing condition' Credit: Reuters
The Queen will refer to her family ’s 'bumpy' 2019 and the nation ’s Brexit divisions in her Christmas Day TV message
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Credit: Getty - Pool The Queen will refer to her family's 'bumpy' 2019 and the nation's Brexit divisions in her Christmas Day TV message Credit: Getty-Pool
The intimate family photo was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge
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Credit: PA:Press Association The intimate family photo was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge Credit: PA: Press Association