Prince Andrew returns to royal life after stepping back in November

Prince Andrew is working his way back into royal life, despite announcing in November that he was stepping back from public duties “for the foreseeable future” amid renewed interest in his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein

The Duke of York stepped out for a private engagement with China’s ambassador to the U.K., Liu Xiaoming, and his wife last week. Andrew attended alongside his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson; his eldest daughter, Princess Beatrice; and Beatrice’s fiancé, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. 

Liu Xiaoming later revealed why the families met on Twitter, alongside a photo from the gathering. 

“Her Majesty The Queen sent an encouraging message to President Xi and Chinese people: At the critical time of fighting #coronavirus, I express my sincere sympathy for Chinese people, and pray for the speedy control and victory over the virus,” he tweeted on Friday, saying that the message “was conveyed by Duke of York,” though the visit was not done under any official capacity.

“My wife and I invited Duke of York and his family to our residence and celebrated Chinese New Year,” he added. “Their enthusiasm for China and contribution to China-UK relation is highly appreciated.” 

The prince stepped down from royal duties in November, following a disastrous BBC Newsnight interview where he failed to condemn the late Epstein or express sympathy for his victims. 

The prince has been accused of raping a minor who was allegedly trafficked by Epstein, though Andrew has repeatedly denied all allegations.  

In Andrew’s statement announcing his step back, he said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.” 

But in January, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a press conference outside of Epstein’s New York residence that the FBI and U.S. prosecutors were unsuccessful in getting an interview with the Duke of York. 

“To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,” Berman said at the time. According to The Associated Press, this is the first time investigators have acknowledged that they sought and failed to obtain information from the Duke of York.

Despite Andrew stepping back from royal duties, he went horseback riding with Queen Elizabeth II shortly after the announcement in an apparent show of support.

He also stopped by the queen’s annual Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, attended services at Sandringham with Prince Charles on Christmas Day, and recently stepped out alongside the queen for church services in January. 

And when Beatrice marries Mapelli Mozzi on May 29, People reports that Andrew plans to walk his daughter down the aisle. 

11 PHOTOS
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson together in recent years
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Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson together in recent years
ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 21: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of York attend day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 21, 2019 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 21: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of York attend day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 21, 2019 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 18: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York attend the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston at St George's Chapel on May 18, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Prince Andrew, Duke of York Sarah Ferguson and Princess Beatrice of York attend of the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank at St. George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 22: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Princess Beatrice and Sarah, Duchess of York attend day 4 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 22, 2018 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 17: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York attend day 4 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2016 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of York on day 4 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2015 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 9: Prince Andrew, The Duke York (L), Sarah, Duchess of York (R) and their daughter, Princess Beatrice, following her graduation ceremony at Goldsmiths College on September 9, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian Nicholson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 25: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York and ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York (holding her camera) wait by the finish line of the Virgin London Marathon for daughter HRH Princess Beatrice of York to complete the marathon as part of the 'Caterpillar Run' Team, consisting of 32 runners tethered together on April 25, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew during Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson Sighting at China Tang - January 15, 2007 at China Tang in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Niki Nikolova/FilmMagic)
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew at the Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson Sighting at China Tang - January 15, 2007 at China Tang in london. (Photo by Niki Nikolova/FilmMagic)
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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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