IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

BREAKING: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum launches his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination

Prince Philip's death has left 'huge void' in Queen Elizabeth II's life, Prince Andrew says

“I think the way I would put it is we have lost almost the grandfather of the nation,” said a somber Prince Andrew, wearing a black suit and tie.

Prince Philip's death has left "a huge void" in Queen Elizabeth II's life, Prince Andrew said Sunday in a rare public appearance since he stepped down from royal duties over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Thanking the public for its support, Andrew told reporters outside a private chapel in a park near Windsor Castle, the 11th century palace 30 miles west of London where Philip died Friday, that his father was "a remarkable man" who "would always listen."

"I feel very sorry and supportive of my mother, who is feeling it, I think, probably more than everybody else," he said, adding that the queen remained "stoic" in her grief.

"She described it as having left a huge void in her life, but we, the family, the ones that are closer, are rallying around to make sure that we are there to support her, and I know there's a huge amount of support not just for her but for everybody as we go through this enormous change," he said.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

The comments were a rare on-camera public statement since Andrew stepped away from his royal duties over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2019.

He was widely criticized for an interview he gave to the BBC's "Newsnight" in November of that year, in which he defended his relationship with Epstein. Afterward, he was accused of lacking empathy for Epstein's victims and failing to show enough remorse.

He continues to face calls to speak to U.S. prosecutors and the FBI, which intensified after Ghislaine Maxwell was charged with recruiting girls for Epstein to sexually abuse.

Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein as a teenager, said in an interview with the BBC's "Panorama" that she was "horrified and ashamed" after an alleged sexual encounter with Andrew in London in 2001.

Prince Andrew has denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with Giuffre, and his attorneys say he has offered to help with the investigations.

Andrew said that he spoke with his father a few months before his death and that Philip told him: "We are all in the same boat, and we must always remember that, but occasionally we, the family, are asked to stand up and show compassion and leadership."

He said Philip's death had "brought it home to me not just our loss but actually the loss that everybody else has felt, for so many people who have died and lost loved ones during the pandemic."

Andrew's younger brother, Prince Edward, also told reporters outside the chapel that his father's death was a "dreadful shock."

A ceremonial funeral for Philip will take place at Windsor Castle next Saturday, with no public access because of coronavirus restrictions, as the country observes two weeks of mourning.