The Duke of York, Prince Andrew has written to the Queen about his plans to step down from public duties for the foreseeable future, after facing public criticism over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
From the letter shared by the Royal family on their social media handle on Wednesday, November 20th 2019, the Queen has given her permission for the Duke of York, her second son, to effectively stop being a working royal.
The unprecedented move comes amid the fallout from his “car crash” BBC television interview in which he tried to clear his name, the Evening Standard had reported.
Mr Epstein died awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in August.
Andrew has been heavily criticised following his BBC interview with Emily Maitlis in which he discussed his links with the disgraced financier.
In the statement released by the Royal Family, the Duke of York Prince Andrew said it had become clear to him that his friendship with the late billionaire convicted paedophile had caused “major disruption” to the Royal Family’s work.
He also said that he is willing to help “any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations” into the sex offender, who killed himself in prison while facing sex trafficking charges.
The duke said: “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein have 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.
“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 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.”
Pressure has been mounting in recent days over his royal role, with firms including telecoms giant BT and bank Barclays among a number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities to distance themselves from him.
The duke told BBC Newsnight’s Ms Maitlis he stayed at Epstein’s property in New York for four days because he was “doing a number of other things”.
He added he was “not that close” with Epstein and that he only stayed at his house “because of his girlfriend” Ghislaine Maxwell.
The presenter asked: “Do you regret the whole friendship with Epstein?”
Andrew replied: “Now, still not and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.
“He himself not, as it were, as close as you might think, we weren’t that close. So therefore I mean yes I would go and stay in his house but that was because of his girlfriend, not because of him.”
Regarding Virginia Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, the duke said he had no recollection of meeting her and said he is “convinced” he was never in a bar with her in March 2001.
He said that on March 10, 2001, when Mrs Giuffre alleges she had sex with him when she was 17, he was actually at a Pizza Express in Woking with his daughter Beatrice.
The duke said Mrs Giuffre’s description of him as “profusely sweating” was another element wrong with her story because at the time in 2001 he had a medical condition that meant he could not sweat.
He said: “I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time and that was…was it… yes, I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of Adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at and I simply…it was almost impossible for me to sweat.
“And it’s only because I have done a number of things in the recent past that I am starting to be able to do that again.”