Prince Andrew comforted his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie and waved to crowds in an emotional display at Balmoral this afternoon.
The Duke of York, who is now eighth in line to the throne, led the senior royals as they attended a private ceremony for the Queen.
He put his arm around his younger daughter as the family looked at the sea of flowers left outside Scottish residence, where Her Majesty died on Thursday afternoon.
Said to have been the Queen’s favourite child, Prince Andrew clasped his hands together before waving and bowing in thanks to those who had gathered outside the castle.
The gesture was welcomed by the crowd who waved back before breaking into a spontaneous round of applause.
The Prince, who was exiled from public life after his car-crash Newsnight interview about his friendship with billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, told well-wishers: ‘We’ve been allowed one day and now we start the process of handing her on.’
Prince Andrew clasped his hands together and bowed at the crowd in an animated show of emotion outside Balmoral Castle
He put his arm round his younger daughter, Princess Eugenie, who looked upset as she read tributes to the Queen left on flowers outside the castle
Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward have all been at Balmoral since Thursday and left this afternoon to attend a prayer service at nearby Crathie Kirk church.
It is the first time they have been seen in public since the death of the Queen.
They were joined by the Duchess of Wessex, Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and the Queen’s grandchildren Peter Phillips, Zara Phillips, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Lady Louise Windsor.
The royal party spent almost five minutes looking at the floral tributes to Queen Elizabeth, with Prince Andrew squatting down and taking out his glasses to read the notes that had been left.
The royals also chatted with some of the well-wishers who had gone to Balmoral to pay tribute to the Queen.
Jackie McIntosh, 69, travelled from Aberdeen with her partner John Coutts, 49, and her sister Aileen Mitchell, 66, to pay their respects to the Queen at Balmoral.
As the senior royals walked along greeting the crowds Prince Andrew asked her: ‘Where have you come from? How long have you been waiting?’
Airport worker Jackie said: ‘It is very sad to see them, they are a family at the end of the day. Prince Andrew asked how long we had waited, it was great to see them all together.’
The Duke of York attended a private ceremony for the Queen at Balmoral with other senior royals this afternoon
Prince Andrew, said to be the Queen’s favourite child, led the family through the crowds of well-wishers. He was joined Princess Anne and her husband, the Duke and Duchess of Wessex and the Queen’s grandchildren Peter Phillips, Zara Phillips, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Lady Louise Windsor
Prince Andrew spent time looking at the notes and the sea of flowers left outside Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire
Her partner John added: ‘It’s only been a couple of days since they lost their mother, like the rest of us they are human, no one expected this. It was decent of them to speak with us.’
Another well-wisher, Sue, had travelled to Balmoral en route from a holiday at Gairloch near Ullapool and told Prince Andrew she was on her way home to Durham.
He expressed surprise at the distance she had travelled and thanked her for coming all that way.
She said she was reluctant to speak to Prince Andrew, adding: ‘I really didn’t want to. I felt I couldn’t not because other people started to move away from him, so I needed to say something. But I didn’t feel comfortable.’
The Duke also paused to chat to Elaine Rose, 59, from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, telling her: ‘Thank you for coming.’
Clutching a bundle of flowers, Elaine, who had been on holiday in Inverness with husband Julian, 65, and son Marc, 34, replied: ‘I’m so sorry for your loss.’
Her son Marc said Prince Andrew, who thanked Elaine for her kind words, ‘looked so sad and sombre’.