Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Andrew is to stand down from all his patron duties, although it has suggested that this may only be a temporary move.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The Duke has stepped back from his public duties and patronages. We do not expect him to be undertaking any activity in support of the patronages during this period.”
The Prince had already issued a statement which said he would “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future” as his “ill-judged association” with Jeffrey Epstein had become a “major disruption” to the work of many charities. But the extent to which this applied to his charity patronages was unclear.
Prince Andrew is listed as patron to more than 200 charities and organisations, 24 of which are listed as children and young people’s organisations.
The Prince spoke to BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis in an interview that was broadcast on Saturday 16 November. He said he had “let the side down” by staying at Epstein’s home, adding it was the “wrong thing to do”. He added that it was not “becoming of a member of the Royal Family”. Epstein was awaiting trial for allegedly paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts, before he was found dead in his prison cell.
Several charities have already accepted his offer to step down, including The Outward Bound Trust, University of Huddersfield and English National Ballet.
Prince Andrew's role as chancellor at The University of Huddersfield had prompted a social media backlash from some students, who began tweeting with the hashtag #NotMyChancellor. Huddersfield Student Union voted on Monday evening to campaign for Prince Andrew’s resignation, before the Prince said he would withdraw his position.
The Prince's initial statement said: “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 organisations and charities that I am proud to support. Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
The Duke of York has said that he would be willing to help law enforcement in the investigation of Epstein. “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.”