Andrew attends Queen’s pre-Christmas lunch – but no Harry and Meghan

The Duke of York has joined members of the royal family for the traditional pre-Christmas lunch hosted by the Queen – but there was no sign of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Andrew has had a tumultuous end to the year after his disastrous appearance on the BBC's Newsnight programme, which has left his reputation in tatters.

His attempt to explain his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein backfired and he was heavily criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein's victims and remorse over his friendship with the disgraced financier.

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Royals gather for pre-Christmas lunch
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Royals gather for pre-Christmas lunch
Prince Louis arriving for the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte arriving at the Queen's Christmas Lunch, Buckingham Palace, London.
Prince Andrew arriving at the Queen's Christmas Lunch, Buckingham Palace, London.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and her daughter Lady Louise Windsor leaving the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
Lady Helen Taylor, and her daughter Estella leave after the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Prince of Wales leaving the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
Prince Michael of Kent leaves the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Princess Charlotte, leaving after the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
(left to right) Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George leaving the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall, with daughter Mia Grace, leaving the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank leaving the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
Princess Eugenie leaving the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
Princess Beatrice leaving the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Earl and Countess of Ulster arriving for the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
Prince Edward arriving at the Queen's Christmas Lunch, Buckingham Palace, London.
Princess Beatrice arrives for the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Duchess of Cornwall arrives for the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, arrive for the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Duke of York drives his Bentley into Buckingham Palace, London as he arrives for the Queen's Christmas lunch. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday December 18, 2019. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, arrives for the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
Lord Frederick Winsdor and Sophie Winkleman arrive for the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, London.
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Meghan and Harry are on a six-week break, with rumours suggesting they are overseas with Meghan's mother Doria Ragland, and were not expected at the royal gathering at Buckingham Palace.

Many of the royal guests drove themselves to the private event, including Andrew.

The duke has only been seen in public a handful of times since the television interview and a large number of his major patronages have accepted his resignation and others have distanced themselves from him.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived separately and were both pictured behind the wheels of their cars, with Kate taking Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, while William had Prince George next to him in the front passenger seat.

Queen's Christmas lunch 2019
William and Kate leave the palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

When the couple left William drove his family home with the three children on the back seat and his wife, who wore a striking Emilia Wickstead dress, beside him.

Among those invited to the event were the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Zara and Mike Tindall, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their two children.

Minor royals included Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and Lord Freddie Windsor and his wife, actress Sophie Winkleman.

The Queen will spend Christmas with the Duke of Edinburgh at her private Norfolk retreat of Sandringham.

They are usually joined on Christmas Day by close family – their children and grandchildren and their spouses – but not wider relatives.

The palace lunch allows the Queen to spend time with the other members of the family.

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