November 21, 2019 06:42:25
Prince Andrew has announced he will withdraw from public duties “for the foreseeable future” after his disastrous interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
- Prince Andrew said his association with Epstein has become a ‘major disruption’ to his family’s work
- He asked the Queen if he could step back, and she agreed
- He is ‘willing’ to assist law enforcement agencies with any investigations, if required
The Duke of York said he had asked the Queen if he could take a step back from public life and also stated he would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies over investigations into Epstein’s alleged crimes.
“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,” Prince Andrew said in a statement released on Wednesday evening local time.
“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
The Duke of York’s interview, which aired on the BBC, was deemed by many as a failed attempt to explain his relationship with Epstein, who was found dead in his New York jail cell in August while awaiting trial on federal charges he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.
Prince Andrew was also roundly criticised for failing to acknowledge any of Epstein’s victims in the hour-long interview, which aired on Saturday.
In his latest statement, he said he “sympathised with everyone who has been affected”.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” the Duke said.
“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.”
The Prince, 59, has come under increasing scrutiny after footage was published in August by UK tabloid the Mail On Sunday showing him at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2010, two years after Epstein had been convicted and jailed after pleading guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution.
One of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre, said the disgraced financier forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew at a London apartment in 2001 when she was 17.
Prince Andrew has previously denied any inappropriate relations with Ms Giuffre, and said during the BBC interview he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her.
In his latest statement he said he would be willing to face questions from US law enforcement over any investigation into Epstein.
“Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required,” he said.
November 21, 2019 05:23:43