Prince Andrew relinquishes role as patron of more than 230 groups over Epstein affair

Buckingham Palace says move is temporary, suggesting duke may hope to return

Jane Dalton
Sunday 24 November 2019 22:50
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The prince is trying to keep a lower profile after his Newsnight interview roused further criticism
The prince is trying to keep a lower profile after his Newsnight interview roused further criticism

Prince Andrew is to withdraw from more than 230 charities as he lowers his profile following outrage over his links to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York is “standing back from all his patronages”, Buckingham Palace said – but suggested he might hope to return by saying the move was only temporary.

At least 230 organisations and charities have Andrew as a patron, but since being accused by Virginia Giuffre of sleeping with her when she was 17, he has already lost or dropped ties with a number of them.

Last week the duke resigned as patron of the Outward Bound Trust, and of London Metropolitan University following a meeting of its governors.

He has also lost his patronages with English National Ballet and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and was dropped as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield following pressure from students who said he was unfit for the role because of his “association with a known paedophile”.

The prince withdrew from royal duties when there was widespread criticism of the interview he gave to BBC Newsnight, in which he appeared to show little or no remorse for his friendship with Epstein and failed to show sympathy to the attacker’s victims.

Buckingham Palace said Andrew would still work on Pitch@Palace, an initiative he founded to support business entrepreneurs.

A statement read: “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.”

Andrew said last week he was willing to help “any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations [into Epstein] if required”.

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