Queen Elizabeth’s son Prince Andrew is stepping “back from public duties for the foreseeable future” following the controversy surrounding his past friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke of York, 59, announced the news in a statement via Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, November 20. “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,” Andrew said.
Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice’s father revealed that his mother, Queen Elizabeth, gave "her permission" for him to “step back." Andrew concluded the statement expressing his regret over his “ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” who died in August.
The Duke added, “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.”
Andrew’s statement follows his recent interview with BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis. The Queen’s son spoke about the late convicted sex offender and denied having sexual contact with Virginia Giuffre, one of Jeffrey's accusers. "It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,” Andrew said. “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."
The Duke admitted that he kicks himself “on a daily basis” for having stayed with Jeffrey after he was convicted. Andrew said, “It was not something that was becoming of a member of the Royal Family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that.”