Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Royal Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Queen went rid­ing with Prince An­drew in the grounds of Wind­sor Cas­tle yes­ter­day in a de­fi­ant show of sup­port for her be­lea­guered son.

The pair were ac­com­pa­nied by two grooms as they rode slowly through the morn­ing rain.

The 93-year-old monarch never does any­thing by chance, as her timely in­ter­ven­tions on the in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum in 2014 and her plea for na­tional unity over Brexit in Jan­u­ary have pre­vi­ously shown.

The Queen also knows ev­ery inch of her beloved Berk­shire es­tate and is well aware that the ride would have been cap­tured by pho­tog­ra­phers. So their ride to­gether can safely be in­ter­preted as a sign of sup­port for her sec­ond – and it is said, favourite – son.

For while it was the Queen who ef­fec­tively ended An­drew’s

role in pub­lic life by de­mand­ing he take a step back from royal du­ties – with the back­ing of her el­dest son and heir, Prince Charles – it is known to have pained her greatly.

As they both live at Wind­sor, the Queen sees a great deal of An­drew and his daugh­ters, Princesses

Beatrice and Eu­ge­nie. They fre­quently pop around to see each other for tea at the week­end, par­tic­u­larly given the long ab­sences of the monarch’s hus­band, the Duke of Ed­in­burgh, who spends most of his time at San­dring­ham, her Nor­folk es­tate.

When Buck­ing­ham Palace made its his­toric an­nounce­ment this week over An­drew’s role, the Queen in­structed aides to make clear that while his royal role was ef­fec­tively over, as her son and eighth in line to the throne, he would con­tinue to re­main a mem­ber of the Royal Fam­ily and would ap­pear by her side at Christ­mas and events such as Troop­ing The Colour. Whether there is any pub­lic ap­petite for this re­mains to be seen.

But the mes­sage, it seems, from his mother is that while An­drew may be out, he is most cer­tainly not for­got­ten.

Morn­ing ride: Prince An­drew and the Queen in the grounds of Wind­sor Cas­tle yes­ter­day. Above: The monarch with her sec­ond son

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