Queen Elizabeth rose above the current drama surrounding the royal family this week, stepping out for a solo engagement on Wednesday evening.
Despite the shocking announcement that her son Prince Andrew is stepping down from his royal duties for the “foreseeable future”, the 93-year-old monarch was all smiles as she arrived at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London to present an award to Sir David Attenborough for his work on nature documentary series Blue Planet II.
The Queen looked beautiful in a light pink ensemble, coordinated with her favourite black shoes and a black patent handbag.
In a speech, the Queen said, “Sir David, this award recognises your many talents and one can’t help but feel that, for those of us of a certain generation, we can take great pleasure in proving age is no barrier to being a positive influence.
“Your ability to communicate the beauty and vulnerability of our natural environment remains unequalled as you – and your team – have engaged and enthused many people, young and old, to appreciate and preserve our world’s oceans. For that we should all be thankful.”
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This evening, The Queen presented Sir David Attenborough and the BBC Studios Natural History Unit with The annual Chatham House Prize. Together Sir David and the Natural History Unit were praised for the impact that Blue Planet II had on tackling ocean plastic pollution. The Chatham House Prize is an annual honour awarded to an individual or group deemed to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year. Tonight, Her Majesty presented the award to Sir David and Julian Hector, Head of BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit at Chatham House. In a speech The Queen said: “Sir David, this award recognises your many talents and one can’t help but feel that, for those of us of a certain generation, we can take great pleasure in proving age is no barrier to being a positive influence.”
Just moments before her outing, it was revealed that the Queen gave permission for her son to step down from his royal duties.
In a statement, the Duke of York said that in the days since his Newsnight interview, it had become clear to him that his association with Epstein, whom he last saw in 2010, had become a major distraction to the royal family’s work and that of the charities and organisations he supported.
“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future and she has given her permission,” he said in the statement.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”
Prince Andrew was in Australia in October to promote his [email protected] program that supports entrepreneurship, but two Australian universities involved in the program cut ties with it following the weekend’s interview, and at least two large UK businesses have also dropped their support for [email protected]
Wednesday also marks the Queen and Prince Phillip’s 72nd wedding anniversary. The royal family’s official Instagram page wrote: “Happy 72nd Wedding Anniversary to The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, who were married on this day in Westminster Abbey.”