Prince Andrew under pressure: what next for the Duke of York?
More than 20 companies and charities have distanced themselves from the royal after Newsnight interview
Prince Andrew says he is stepping back from royal duties as pressure intensifies over his connections with the late convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
In a statement released just days after his controversial Newsnight interview, the Duke of York said he had asked the Queen for permission to withdraw for the “foreseeable future”.
He said: “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.”
In a statement described by the BBC as “without precedent in modern times”, Andrew added that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.
The Daily Mail claims the decision was forced upon the prince. “The Queen has effectively sacked Prince Andrew from Royal duties after discussing the Epstein scandal with Charles and summoning the distraught Duke of York to Buckingham Palace to learn his fate,” it reports.
BT has become the latest in a string of organisations to distance themselves from Prince Andrew after he took part in a 50-minute television interview about his links to Epstein. It was widely seen as a PR disaster, in which he made a series of bizarre claims.
Asked to explain why one of Epstein’s accusers says she had sex with him in London in 2001, Andrew claimed he recalled clearly that he was actually in Pizza Express in Woking that night.
BT said “in light of recent developments” it was “reviewing” its relationship with IDEA, a skills group of which Andrew is patron.
In total, more than 20 companies and charities – including Barclays and the English National Ballet – have distanced themselves from the duke and initiatives he has backed.
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Meanwhile, a lawyer representing some of Epstein’s victims says the duke should put himself forward to be interviewed by US investigators.
Referring to Andrew’s pledge that he would assist with probes into the convicted sex offender “if required”, Gloria Allred urged him to contact US authorities “without conditions and without delay”.
“Is he insisting that he be served with a subpoena to testify, or is he willing to speak to law enforcement without being legally required to do so?” she asked.
“My clients who are victims of Jeffrey Epstein have spoken to law enforcement without being ‘required’ to do so.”
When asked by Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis if he would be willing to testify or give a statement under oath about his claims, Andrew responded: “Well I’m like everybody else and I will have to take all the legal advice that there was before I was to do that sort of thing. But if push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty bound to do so.”
The Times says the duke “wanted to draw a line under the affair” by taking part in the public interview, but now “calls for him to testify to the FBI about what he knows are unlikely to be quietened”.