PRINCE Andrew gave his daughter away at a socially-distanced royal wedding today – days after his old pal Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested.
The Sun can reveal he joined around 20 guests, including the Queen and Prince Philip, at Princess Beatrice’s private wedding – which was much smaller than planned due to coronavirus restrictions.
Princess Beatrice and Prince Andrew – Andrew walked his daughter down the aisle today[/caption]
Princess Beatrice and Edoardo planned a small wedding[/caption]
Princess Beatrice’s wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi was already expected to be a private affair after Andrew’s bombshell Newsnight interview last year, where he attempted to defend his friendship with Epstein.
And today Andrew joined the much-reduced group of friends and family to walk his daughter down the aisle.
The royal has been keeping a low profile at his Windsor home, after he was unceremoniously forced to step back from public life in November over his links to paedo Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell.
Last week the Duke was pictured in a Range Rover – the first time he had been seen since Maxwell was arrested in the US. The 58-year-old has been a close friend of the prince for about 30 years.
Coronavirus restrictions meant only around two dozen people were present at the ceremony today, with social distancing rules in place and a limit of 30 guests in line with government restrictions.
The Queen’s granddaughter and millionaire property developer Edo were due to get hitched at the Chapel Royal, at St James’s Palace, in London, with 150 guests, in May.
But Beatrice, 31, and Edo, 37, said ‘I do’ surrounded by close family and friends in All Saints Chapel, Windsor Great Park today, The Sun revealed.
The Queen was driven with Prince Philip from Windsor Castle, where they had been isolating since March, three miles up the Long Walk and through Windsor Great Park to the private church.
CHANGE OF PLANS
A friend of Beatrice and Edoardo said the nuptials were arranged today to make sure the Queen could attend before she leaves Windsor at the end of the month.
The friend said: “A massive wedding was out of the question because of coronavirus.
“They were obviously very keen for the Queen to come so the wedding had to happen before she goes up to Balmoral so this was a great opportunity.”
The Palace said in a statement: “The private wedding ceremony of Princess Beatrice and Mr Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi took place at 11am on Friday 17th July at The Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor.
“The small ceremony was attended by The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and close family.
“The wedding took place in accordance with all relevant Government guidelines.”
Pals of the Duke of York revealed part of the motivation to speak on TV about Epstein last year was to be able to walk his eldest daughter down the aisle with his “head held high”.
But Beatrice reportedly had to cancel an engagement party in the aftermath of her father’s BBC interview.
She announced her engagement to multi-millionaire property developer Edoardo after a whirlwind 11-month romance.
And in a dramatic break from royal tradition Buckingham Palace confirmed Princess Beatrice’s wedding would be paid for privately.
During the bombshell BBC interview, the prince, who was later stripped of all royal duties, said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting Epstein’s alleged sex slave Virginia Roberts.
He has strenuously denied the allegations.
He claimed the alleged encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.
It’s reported Prince Andrew has been involved in a war of words with the US authorities over whether he will assist their investigation into the sex crimes of paedophile Epstein.
The financier hanged himself in a New York jail cell last summer.
Maxwell, the daughter of tycoon Robert Maxwell, has been charged with four counts of grooming and child sex trafficking and two separate charges of perjury.
The Queen attended the wedding this morning[/caption]
Prince Philip also witnessed the small private ceremony[/caption]
Beatrice and her mum at her sister Eugenie’s wedding[/caption]
The pair announced their engagement last year[/caption]