Prince Andrew is stepping down from his duties in light of his controversial connection to disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
In an official statement on Wednesday, the Duke of York, who has been making headlines recently for his ties to Epstein, announced he will no longer be taking on his royal duties "for the foreseeable future."
"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," Prince Andrew said in the statement.
Noting that he asked his mother, Queen Elizabeth, if he might "step back from public duties for the foreseeable future," Andrew revealed that Her Royal Highness gave her son her permission for him to step down.
He went on to note, "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."
Andrew was last seen participating in Remembrance Day events alongside other members of the royal family including Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Prince William.
It is rare for a member of the royal family to officially step down from duties. The most notable case occurred with Queen Elizabeth's uncle, Edward VIII, who was king and on the throne when he abdicated in order to be with the woman he loved -- a divorcee, which was not allowed at the time. His abdication led to King George VI's reign, putting Queen Elizabeth and her descendants in the line of succession. Prince Andrew is not in the immediate line of succession, so his decision has less longterm implications for the royal family.
Andrew's recent televised interview with the BBC likely sparked this decision. After being linked to Epstein, Andrew spoke with the BBC last week, where he denied he participated in underage sex with one of Epstein's alleged victims.
"I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever," Andrew told the BBC, despite a resurfaced image of Andrew and the woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, as a 17-year-old.
Despite being friends with Epstein, Andrew claims he never noticed any improper behavior in the late billionaire.
"I stayed with him and that's…that's…that's the bit that…that…that, as it were, I kick myself for on a daily basis. I let the side down, simple as that," he said.