The U.K.’s Prince Andrew announced on Wednesday that he is stepping away from public royal duties as a result of the questions surrounding his friendship with the late accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and allegations that he also abused underage girls.
In a statement, Prince Andrew said that his association with Epstein had become “a major disruption” to his family’s work, and the “organizations and charities I am proud to support.”
“I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission,” he added.
“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.”
The news comes days after a television interview in which the Duke of York appeared to show little empathy for Epstein’s victims, and allegations that the monarch used a racial slur during a 2012 meeting with political aide Rohan Silva.
Prince Andrew broke his silence on the Epstein scandal in an interview that ran in its entirety on BBC Two this past weekend. In this interview, he said he has “no recollection” of ever meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has accused the royal of sexual abuse when she was 16 years old. There is a photo of them together, his arm around her, from 2001, which he claims has been doctored.
He used other questionable excuses in the interview, such as responding to Roberts Giuffre’s recollection that he had been “sweating profusely” on the dance floor at a nightclub by saying, “There’s a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition, which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time.”
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