Prince Andrew resigns from 'Pitch@Palace' amid Epstein scandal

23 November 2019, 08:42 | Updated: 23 November 2019, 09:32

Multiple businesses have pulled their support for Pitch@Palace
Multiple businesses have pulled their support for Pitch@Palace. Picture: PA
Maddie Goodfellow

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Duke of York has reportedly resigned from his flagship business project following days of pressure to step back from Royal duties.

Prince Andrew is said to have left his post in the flagship business project just one day after a sponsor said his plans to continue leading were "just not tenable".

The move comes after multiple high profile sponsors, including KPMG, Standard Chartered and Inmarsat said they will not be renewing their support for the project.

Barclays, a key partner of the initiative, also ended its association on Friday.

It is expected that Pitch will continue without any royal involvement.

The Duke's decision comes after the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was amongst a number of organisations to announced on Friday that they were cutting ties with him.

An RPO spokesman said: "Following HRH the Duke of York's announcement that he will be stepping back from public life, management representatives of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) met with Prince Andrew's office on Thursday afternoon.

"At a subsequent meeting of the RPO board, it was decided that the orchestra should part company with its patron, with immediate effect.

"The RPO would like to express its gratitude to His Royal Highness for his support of the orchestra over the past 15 years."

The English National Ballet also reportedly accepted Andrew's resignation from his role as patron, as well as the University of Huddersfield.

Prince Andrew founded the Pitch@Palace initiative
Prince Andrew founded the Pitch@Palace initiative. Picture: PA

The Duke is also said to have canceled a trip to Bahrain as part of the initiative this week amid mounting pressure from his family.

It has also been reported that his private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, has been removed form her palace-funded role and will not be the chief executive of Pitch.

Ms Thirsk was reportedly the driving force behind the Duke's disastrous Panorama interview.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman would not comment on reports the duke had stepped down from leading Pitch.

She said: "The duke will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of Buckingham Palace.

"We recognise there will be a period of time while this transition takes place."

A source, who is close to a sponsor of Pitch, said: "To say you're stepping back from public life but then carry on is not a tenable position by the palace, and I think the sponsor shares that view."

Andrew will be scaling down his public work, but it is not clear if his finances will change as he is supported by his mother the Queen and her help will never be disclosed.

Prince Andrew is accused of sleeping with Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of sex offender Jeffery Epstein, on three separate occasions, including twice whilst she was underage.

He strenuously denies the claims.

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