Prince Andrew to step back from public duties

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Prince Andrew has announced he will step back from his public duties for the "foreseeable future" amid widespread criticism over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

It comes after the royal took part in a televised interview about his links with the disgraced financier, in which he said he did not regret their relationship.

In the wake of the interview, aired on November 16, multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities have distanced themselves from the Duke of York.

In a statement released today, Prince Andrew said: "It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.

"Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.

"I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein."

He continued: "His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

"I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency."

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer “you need some gravitas to be a royal”.

"He has appeared so totally out of touch but it’s dangerous, no monarchy can afford to be out of touch,” he said.

The BBC interview has also had an impact on the Woking branch of Pizza Express.

Prince Andrew denied he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's victims, on three separate occasions, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

TripAdvisor was forced to suspend reviews for the restaurant, after it was flooded with fake reviews as viewers satirised the Duke's comments.

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