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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019
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Prince Andrew 'standing back' from over 200 patronages amid ongoing criticism

A number of major financial and telecom companies have also distanced themselves from the duke.

Image: Steve Parsons

THE DUKE OF York is standing back from all of the organisations of which he is a patron after the backlash which followed an interview he gave to BBC’s Newsnight programme.

Andrew faced criticism for showing a lack of empathy towards the victims of his late friend, convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The duke was also criticised for what was seen by many as a lack of remorse over his friendship with Epstein, who took his own life in prison earlier this year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Andrew also faces the prospect of Virginia Giuffre – an alleged Epstein victim who claims she had under-age sex with the duke, which he strenuously denies – being interviewed on BBC’s Panorama programme early in December.

Over the weekend, it was reported the duke had resigned from his role with his flagship business project Pitch@Palace after days of speculation about his future with the initiative he founded.

High-profile business sponsors KPMG, Standard Chartered and Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company, all said they would not renew their financial support for Pitch while Barclays, a partner of the project, ended its association on Friday.

A spokeswoman for the duke said: “The duke has over 230 patronages. He will be stepping back from public duty and temporarily standing back from all his patronages.”

“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.”

Meanwhile, it has been reported the Queen has cancelled a party she was to host for Andrew’s 60th birthday on 19 February.

There were plans for a formal reception for Andrew and the charities he was a patron of.

When Charles, the Prince of Wales turned 60 in 2008, he was given a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park and a party with more than 400 guests including European royalty and members of his charity.

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