Prince Andrew reportedly met with his lawyer earlier this year to discuss some sort of public rehabilitation, Yahoo News UK understands.
Writing for Yahoo UK in his weekly column, royal executive editor Omid Scobie said a palace source revealed the Duke of York met with members of his team in early spring this year to discuss a return to public life.
Andrew has been forced to take a back seat in royal life since he was ignominiously stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by the Queen in January 2022 after a US judge ruled a civil trial over sex assault allegations by Virginia Giuffre could go ahead.
Read Omid's full column - Prince Andrew wanted a comeback, but his family has ended that dream - here
That withdrawal from the spotlight was reinforced when the Duke of York agreed to pay an undisclosed out-of-court settlement to Giuffre after agreeing to settle the lawsuit.
“Not that he ever thought he would be a working royal again,” a source told Scobie. “But he did discuss creating duties of his own, through philanthropic efforts and being seen as the supportive son of the Queen… These would contribute to rehabilitating his image. Not as the Duke of York, but simply as a man who wanted to do good.”
While Andrew has consistently denied all accusations of wrongdoing and made no admission of liability, any chance of such a return appears to have been ruled out following the death of the Queen, with King Charles appearing adamant that his slimmed-down monarchy holds no place for his brother.
The Queen's recent period of mourning did see Andrew re-enter the spotlight. However, one of his few public appearances during the 10-day period of mourning was marred when a protester heckled him during the procession of the Queen's coffin from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St. Giles Cathedral.
Andrew did play a role in several other ceremonies, including processing behind his mother's coffin with his siblings and taking part the Princes' Vigil.
He was also permitted to wear his military uniform during the Vigil in Westminster Hall, but wore a morning suit for the processions and the funeral itself.
In June this year, it was initially reported that Prince Andrew would attend the traditional Order of the Garter Day Procession at Windsor Castle. However, he did not make an appearance, after a reported intervention from Charles and William.
Andrew's name was printed in the official Garter Day program, so it is likely the change was made last minute.
In March, the Duke of York made a high-profile appearance at a Service of Thanksgiving in honour of his late father, Prince Philip.
Andrew accompanied the Queen to the service and escorted her out. Front and centre, this was said to be a sign of the late Queen throwing her public support behind her son. This perceived attempt at publicly rehabilitating Andrew was widely criticised.