Prince Andrew, the third child of Queen Elizabeth, said in a statement today that he would step back from public duties “for the foreseeable future” over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein.
Also known as the Duke of York, the prince has been under scrutiny for months now over his associations with the late financier and convicted sex offender. In an interview with NBC last month, Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleged that the prince raped her on three separate occasions when she was a minor, each time on Epstein’s arrangements. She initially raised the accusations in a 2015 lawsuit, when she swore under oath that the royal was among the men she was forced by Epstein to have sex with. Prince Andrew has denied the allegations.
Prince Andrew tried to further distance himself from Epstein in a BBC interview over the weekend, which has been described as “disastrous” and “noxious” by multiple outlets. It included a moment in which he claimed to have no memory of meeting Giuffre, even though a photograph of the royal and Giuffre alongside Epstein’s alleged madame, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been circulating for months now.
Though he appears to have thought the interview would sway public opinion in his favor, the exact opposite has occurred. It appears the royal family has finally realized the gravity of the situation. Here’s his full statement:
“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 organizations and charities that I am proud to support.
Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.
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 sympathize 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.”