Prince Andrew set for high-profile royal appearances despite fresh allegations from sex accuser

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 08-06-2019 England The ceremony of the Trooping the Colour, marking the monarch's official birthday, in London. Queen Elizabeth II Laurence, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales Prince Andrew ( PPE/Nieboer /Sipa USA)
Prince Andrew with the Queen at this year's Trooping the Colour (PPE/Nieboer /Sipa USA)

Prince Andrew’s absence from the Nato reception at Buckingham Palace is the first of many events from which he is to be excluded - but the duke is still set to be present at some of the most high-profile royal events of the year.

The Duke is facing fresh scrutiny after Virginia Giuffre’s first UK television interview was aired as part of a BBC investigation into the duke’s association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked to London by Epstein and forced to sleep with the duke when she was a teenager, which Andrew categorically denies.

She spoke of how she was left “horrified and ashamed” after the alleged encounter in 2001, saying: “One thing that I can tell you is you never forget the face of someone who has heaved over you.”

Andrew has been forced to pull back from his royal duties and has been axed by a number of charities of which he was royal patron.

And Tuesday evening’s Nato summit hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace was the first of many high-profile royal events where Andrew was persona non grata.

Omid Scobie, royal editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar, said on his The HeirPod podcast that the duke’s absence is the “first of many instances where his presence would normally be expected”.

However, despite, this, Buckingham Palace has confirmed to Yahoo News UK that the prince is still set to attend the Trooping the Colour and Remembrance Sunday events next year - two of the most important events in the royal calendar.

A palace spokeswoman said: “The Duke of York remains a member of the Royal Family. As a Royal Colonel and a war veteran he will take part in these ceremonies.”

Trooping the Colour marks the Queen’s official birthday and is packed with military pomp and pageantry.

Her Majesty attends the ceremony and is escorted from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade where she inspects the troops, before taking in an RAF flypast back at the palace.

It is scheduled to take place on 13 June.

Remembrance Sunday also sees the Royal Family take part in memorial services and he attended this year’s event at the cenotaph in London.

The palace spokeswoman also released a statement following Virginia Giuffre’s (previously known as Virginia Roberts) explosive interview with Panorama, which followed the duke’s own “car crash” interview on Newsnight last month.

“The Duke of York unequivocally regrets his ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” she said.

“Epstein’s suicide left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims.

Queen Elizabeth II arrives with her son the Duke of York, at Crathie Kirk to attend a Sunday morning church service near Balmoral, where members of the royal family are currently spending their summer holidays.
Prince Andrew has been forced to step back from royal duties (PA)

“The duke deeply sympathises with those affected who want some form of closure.

“It is his hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. The duke is willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.

“The duke has already stated that he did not see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest and conviction.

“He deplores the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.

“It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”