The royal family will be marking a milestone birthday next week, as Prince Andrew turns 60 on 19 February. It's set to be a busy day for the Queen in particular, who will be carrying out an official engagement that day in London, having returned to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, following her break in Sandringham. The monarch will be opening the new premises of the Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals, a state-of-the-art facility which has brought the two previously separate hospitals under one roof. During her visit, Her Majesty will see first-hand the work being carried out across the facilities and will speak to patients who have benefited from the services and care of the staff.
Watch Prince Andrew's first appearance since stepping down from public duties
The Queen will be working on Prince Andrew's birthday
Andrew's birthday will be celebrated in private. The Queen's son shares daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, and the pair have remained on good terms since their divorce. He will no doubt spend his special day with them at home in Windsor. Andrew has only been seen out in public once this year, attending church with his mum in Sandringham at the start of the year. The pair were pictured chatting to well-wishers before going to the Sunday service.
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The Duke of York was last seen out in public with the Queen in Norfolk in January
The Duke recently turned down a military promotion after stepping back from public duties in November. Andrew was due to be promoted to Admiral on his birthday, in line with a longstanding policy that sees senior royals treated as serving military members. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "By convention, the Duke of York would be in line for military promotion on his 60th birthday. Following the decision by His Royal Highness to step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, the Duke of York has asked the Ministry of Defence if this promotion might be deferred until such time that His Royal Highness returns to public duty."
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Andrew stepped down from royal duties following his TV interview with BBC Newsnight, which focused on his connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Buckingham Palace released a statement from the Duke just days after the high-profile interview. Prince Andrew said: "It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support. 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 added: "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. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."
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