The Duke of York Prince Andrew on Wednesday said he is quitting his public duties “for the foreseeable future”, reported The Guardian. This came days after he spoke about his connections with United States financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
“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,” Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, said. “I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
In his interview to BBC aired on Saturday, the duke of York accepted that he had been on Epstein’s private plane and private island. He also said that when Epstein was invited to his daughter Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday in July 2006, he was unaware that two months prior to it, charges of sexually assaulting a minor had been levelled against Epstein.
Virginia Roberts, one of the women who had accused Epstein of assault, had said that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times between 2001 and 2002, the BBC report added. He has denied the allegations.
He said he was willing to help law enforcement agencies investigating allegations of sexual assault against Epstein.
Epstein killed himself in a New York prison in August while awaiting trial in cases of sexual assault. “I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives,” said Prince Andrew, according to The Washington Post.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” the duke of York said in his statement on Wednesday. “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.”
Following the revelation of Prince Andrew’s ties with Epstein, several brands endorsed by him said they would not work with him anymore. Some of these include British telecommunications, KPMG, Standard Chartered, Aon, the University of Huddersfield, Outward Bound and the English National Ballet.