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Dublin: 17°C Wednesday 17 August 2022

Prince Andrew 'steps back' from royal duties for the 'foreseeable future'

The announcement follows a widespread criticism following his interview with the BBC on his connections with Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, at the parade celebrating 75 years of liberation of Brugge, Belgium.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, at the parade celebrating 75 years of liberation of Brugge, Belgium.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

PRINCE ANDREW HAS said that he will “step back” from his public duties as a member of the British royal family, saying that “the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work”. 

In a statement released tonight, he said that he asked Queen Elizabeth if he could “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future”, and that she agreed to that request.

The announcement follows an extraordinary BBC interview with the Duke of York, where he for the first time publicly addressed claims that he had sex with an alleged teen victim of disgraced US financier Epstein.

He denied those claims by saying that he had “no recollection” of ever having met his accuser, Virginia Roberts, and said that her recollection of the night was incorrect because he “didn’t sweat at the time” after “suffering an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War” after being shot at.

He was widely criticised for his lack of remorse during the interview, saying that he stayed with Epstein because it was “a convenient place to stay”, and refusing to say he regretted his friendship with Epstein because “the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn, either by him or because of him, were actually very useful”.

Tonight, he appeared to change his stance: “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.”

Since the interview, Prince Andrew has come under pressure from victims of Epstein to share what he knows with police or other authorities.

Multi-million businesses, universities and charities have distanced themselves from the queen’s son – earlier today, telecoms giant BT warned it will only continue to back a digital skills award scheme if the Duke of York is dropped as patron.

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