Prince Andrew stepped out from hiding at the Royal Lodge in Windsor to head to Balmoral Castle where Queen Elizabeth II is currently staying on a holiday.

Photos from The Sun showed the embattled royal on the driver's seat of a black Range Rover heading to his mother's estate with his ex-wife Sarah Fergusson. He also sat on the passenger's seat while being chauffeured on the 500-mile ride.

The outing comes amid reports that he was in hiding in the past weeks. Prince Andrew was holed up in his Windsor home and refused to come out even to go horse riding or to go for a walk. It was said that he did not step out in public for fear of being served legal papers on allegations that he sexually abused Virginia Roberts Giuffre when she was still a minor.

She had accused Prince Andrew of "rape in the first degree" in a New York court last month. Her legal team has reportedly not been able to served the papers personally to the 61-year old because he has been in hiding. Guards also thwarted "multiple attempts" they made to do so. Now he is expected to stay silent while he is in Balmoral with Queen Elizabeth II until his case is heard in court next Monday.

"Andrew was going stir-crazy inside Royal Lodge for the past few weeks. He wasn't going horse riding and couldn't step outside because of attempts to serve him with the legal papers," a source said adding that the duke "knows he is far safer at Balmoral on the Queen's estate."

"Andrew is always described as the Queen's favourite son but she is meant to be on holiday at Balmoral. With Andrew and everything that is happening with Charles and the investigation into cash for honours she must be wondering when she will get any peace and quiet," the insider said.

Prince Andrew has since vehemently denied any association with Giuffre when she was still a minor. He has also denied the sexual abuse allegations. His lawyers have also remained mum on the case until the hearing, which will be heard via a telephone conference in New York.

Prince Andrew's lawyers deny lack of cooperation
US investigators have alleged that Britain's Prince Andrew has refused to help in the Epstein investigation. Photo: AFP / JOHN THYS