In the latest news from the fallout following Prince Andrew‘s interview concerning his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and his subsequent announcement to “step down” from royal duties, the Duke of York’s office has been forced out of Buckingham Palace.
In addition, the outlet reports that Andrew’s private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, was let go from her role due to her part in encouraging the royal to do the interview with BBC.
On Friday, the Queen and Prince Andrew were seen riding horses with two escorts around the Windsor Castle estate — about 23 miles away from London. Both were bundled up in long coats, with the 93-year-old monarch covering up her head with a hood, while Andrew, 59, sported a helmet.
Prince Andrew was also forced to cancel a planned trip to Bahrain with his Pitch@Palace initiative as questions have been raised about whether he will still lead the organization, which helps budding entrepreneurs.
The Duke of York set up Pitch@Palace — an Apprentice-style contest that helps new and emerging businesses network — five years ago. But, as he “steps back” from his public work, he is looking at alternative ways to still be involved with the project.
Andrew’s canceled meeting, which was scheduled for Nov. 27 in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, comes amid claims that he is to sever his ties with the program, which has been one of his most high-profile public works in recent years.
On Friday, the Daily Telegraph reported he had stepped down from Pitch@Palace. “The series of events will now be known simply as ‘Pitch’ and will continue to be run by the Duke’s former private secretary Amanda Thirsk,” the outlet said.
Buckingham Palace did not confirm he had cut his ties to the organization, but said that going forward “he is looking at how to take Pitch forward outside of his public duties and Buckingham Palace.”
However, there was an acknowledgment that things are in flux as the office tries to cope and switch to a different working situation. “We have always said there would be a period of transition,” the spokeswoman says.
It was revealed Wednesday that the Queen gave permission for her son to “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future” in the aftermath of his explosive BBC interview.
“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 a statement. “Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
While Prince Andrew will not perform any more public duties as a member of the royal family, not much else will change at this time.
“He remains a member of the royal family,” a royal source says. “As a royal colonel and a war veteran, you can expect to see him at Remembrance Sunday. You can expect to see him on the balcony at Trooping the Colour too.”
The 59-year-old royal will likely retain his title as the Duke of York and keep his place in the line of succession to the throne, which is currently eighth behind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s 6-month-old son, Archie. Many family members in the line of succession are not “working” royals, such as Princess Anne’s children Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall.
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Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, also do not have official roles within the monarchy despite having causes that they champion. Their positions will not be affected by Andrew’s decision to withdraw from a public work life.