Prince Andrew to step back from public duties after 'car crash' Epstein interview

20 November 2019, 17:59 | Updated: 20 November 2019, 18:57

Prince Andrew has decided to step back from public life
Prince Andrew has decided to step back from public life. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The Duke of York is to step back from public duties for the "foreseeable future."

The Queen has given permission for Prince Andrew to step back from public duties amid criticism over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the duke said in a statement.

It follows his TV interview about his friendship with the billionaire sex offender, who killed himself in a New York jail cell in August.

In a statement Prince Andrew also said he's "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."

Prince Andrew's interview for Newsnight was described as a 'car crash'
Prince Andrew's interview for Newsnight was described as a 'car crash'. Picture: BBC

He wrote: "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.

"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 with their investigations, if required."

Firms including telecoms giant BT and bank Barclays are among a number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities which have distanced themselves from Andrew in the wake of the BBC interview, which has widely been described as a 'car crash'.

Former Buckingham Palace press officer Dickie Arbiter described the interview as "not so much a car crash but an articulated lorry crash"

Barclays said it was concerned about the situation and was keeping its involvement with Pitch@Palace under review, while BT warned that it would only continue to back a digital skills award programme iDEA if Andrew was dropped as patron.

Asian-focused bank Standard Chartered joined KPMG in deciding not to renew its sponsorship of Pitch@Palace.

London Metropolitan University was considering the duke's role as its patron, while a student panel at Huddersfield University passed a motion to lobby Andrew to resign as its chancellor.

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