Prince Andrew is officially stepping down from royal business in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein case. The decision was made final on Wednesday, with Buckingham Palace releasing a statement from the Duke of York, who wrote that his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, had given her permission for Prince Andrew to step back from his public duties.
In the letter, Prince Andrew writes, “It has become clear to me over the past few days that my association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support.” The Duke of York ended the letter by saying that he would support any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigation of Epstein, with Prince Andrew showing sympathy for Epstein’s many alleged victims — an emotion that viewers criticized the Duke for not showing during his interview last weekend with the BBC. “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” he said, adding, “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.”
A statement by His Royal Highness The Duke of York KG. pic.twitter.com/LfMFwMyhcb
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 20, 2019
Charities and organizations associated with Prince Andrew, including Cisco Systems, Aon, and KPMG, have been distancing themselves from the royal after the Prince gave a bizarre interview about his relationship with the late billionaire on Saturday. Speaking with reporter Emily Maitlis, Prince Andrew appeared unsympathetic to Epstein’s victims, many of whom were sex trafficked as teens. The 59-year-old royal also gave strange responses to questions about his involvement with Epstein, including his claim that a medical condition made him incapable of sweating, something he said cleared him of allegations by a victim who said he ‘sweated profusely.’ Prince Andrew did admit that he ‘let the side down’ by staying in the home of the convicted sex offender, but denied any wrongdoing beyond that.
Prince Andrew says he has ‘no recollection’ of ever meeting one of the women accusing him of sexual impropriety.
The duke made the claims in a BBC interview about his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
— ITV News (@itvnews) November 15, 2019
The BBC has also been attacked for their handling of Prince Andrew’s interview, with critics lamenting the public broadcaster for not only give a man accused of sex trafficking a platform, but co-signing his innocence by filming in Buckingham Palace. The BBC also filmed interviews with some of Epstein’s victims, which have yet to be aired.
Royal watchers are saying that Prince Andrew’s interview with the BBC is the biggest PR disaster for the royal family since the media coverage surrounding the death of Princess Diana, adding that the Duke of York’s move to step away from his public duties is uncharted territory.
Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his New York jail cell of an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on charges of running a sex-trafficking ring with underage girls. Epstein had ties to several celebrities, politicians and businessman in addition to Prince Andrew, including Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.