- Prince Andrew is officially stepping back from his public royal duties.
- As noted in an official statement released on the royal family’s Twitter account on Wednesday, the Queen “has given her permission” for the Duke of York to step down from his public royal duties.
- The news comes days after Prince Andrew gave a high-profile interview to BBC presenter Emily Maitlis, in which he spoke publicly for the first time about his association with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The interview aired on Saturday.
- The Duke of York also answered Maitlis’ questions about the sexual abuse allegations he is facing by one of Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking victims.
- Viewers, the media, and PR experts alike dubbed the interview a “car-crash,” with many in agreement that his comments and perceived lack of empathy for Epstein’s victims were offputting and made the prince look even worse.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Prince Andrew’s attempts to stem the slew of negative press he’s received over his association with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have turned into a “PR disaster” – and now, he’s announced his intention to step down from his public royal duties as the Duke of York.
When reached by phone, a spokesperson for the Office of the Duke of York told Insider that “the statement speaks for itself.”
A statement by His Royal Highness The Duke of York KG. pic.twitter.com/LfMFwMyhcb
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 20, 2019
In a nearly hourlong Newsnight special interview with BBC presenter Emily Maitlis that aired Saturday, the Duke of York spoke publicly and answered questions for the first time about his friendship with Epstein and the sexual abuse allegations made against the royal himself. Most notably, Prince Andrew said that he has “no recollection” of having met Virginia Giuffre, an American woman who alleges that she was subjected to abuse by Epstein and forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was underage.
The duke had previously “emphatically denied” these allegations (which first circulated widely in 2015) via a Buckingham Palace spokesman and apologized for his friendship with Epstein, which continued even after Epstein was a registered sex offender.
In the BBC interview, the prince also offered several extremely specific alibis in an attempt to “prove” he never had sex with Giuffre while she was underage. On the day of one particular alleged encounter, the prince said, he was “at home” with his children, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, after having taken Beatrice out for pizza. He claimed to remember the outing “weirdly distinctly” because it was an “unusual thing” for him to do.
The reaction and backlash to Prince Andrew’s “car-crash” BBC interview was near immediate. The Financial Times reported that the royal “is losing corporate support for his charitable work as companies including KPMG and Aon distance themselves from the Queen’s second son in order to protect their reputations.” Bloomberg’s James Ludden called the high-profile interview “a farce that threatens to be the British royal family’s biggest public relations disaster since its handling of the death of Princess Diana in 1997.”
Criticism similarly poured in on social media, particularly on Twitter.
“I expected a train wreck,” Charlie Proctor, editor of the Royal Central website, which reports on the British monarchy, tweeted on Saturday. “That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion-level bad.”
As Business Insider’s Sahar Esfandiari previously reported, the interview has seemingly intensified attacks on Prince Andrew, with many noting that his alibis seem implausible and that he didn’t express sympathy for the alleged victims of Epstein’s sex-trafficking, including by trivializing the situation when he referred to Epstein’s crimes as “unbecoming” conduct.
Watch the full interview here:
- Read more:
- A victim of Jeffrey Epstein says Prince Andrew bought her vodka at a London club when she was 17 before having sex with her
- New details reveal the friendship between Epstein and Prince Andrew dissolved after the Duchess of York referred to Epstein as a pedophile
- Prince Andrew’s press advisor reportedly quit 2 weeks before his BBC interview after urging him not to do it
- Prince Andrew says the picture of him with his hand around Virginia Roberts’ waist might not be real
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