Prince Andrew Relinquishes Royal Duties After BBC Interview

On Nov. 17, 2019, Emily Maitlis of the BBC interviewed Prince Andrew about his connection to Jeffrey Epstein. Following allegations Epstein forced an underage woman to have sex with the prince, people wondered if he could refute the allegations. Instead, many found the prince’s answers to the BBC’s questions unsatisfying. The controversy surrounding these allegations have caused the prince to renounce his royal duties. Here’s what the prince had to say.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York | Mark Richards – WPA Pool / Getty Images

The biggest scandal in modern royal history

Jeffrey Epstein, a financier and convicted sex offender, had connections with numerous members of the global elite. Of all his high-profile connections, his relationship with Prince Andrew, Duke of York, has garnered more attention than any other. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an alleged victim of Epstein, says she was forced to have sex with the prince thrice between 1999 and 2002.

Jeffrey Epstein protestors with signs | Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

In the BBC interview, Prince Andrew denied any legal wrongdoing. He further claimed he didn’t recall ever meeting Roberts Guiffre. The prince said he had experts try to prove a photograph which depicts him putting his arm around her was doctored, but the results were inconclusive. He also said he could not have assaulted her on March 10, 2001, as he claimed. “I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon.”

Prince Andrew also claimed he was never truly friends with Epstein. Instead, he stated he was close to the financier’s girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, and only met with Epstein a few times a year. Prince Andrew has garnered criticism for staying with Epstein for four days in 2010 after the financier’s conviction for sex trafficking. The prince stated he only met with Epstein to end their association.

At one point, Prince Andrew said he regretted knowing Epstein. He later contradicted himself, saying he’s glad he knew Epstein because it afforded him important opportunities. On social media, many said the prince did not appear concerned about Epstein’s alleged victims.

The prince’s interview with the BBC did little to dissuade the public from believing he may have done unspeakable things to an underage girl. According to People, the prince initially believed the interview went well. He is now singing a different tune.

Prince Andrew relinquishes his royal duties

Prince Andrew released a statement about his royal duties earlier today. “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.”

“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.”

Prince Andrew in Manchester, England |Christopher Furlong – WPA Pool/Getty Images

In his statement, the prince says he will relinquish his royal duties for the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen if he will ever assume his Royal duties again. If he were to do so, he would likely need to ingratiate himself with the public. It’s unclear at this point if it’s even possible for him to do that again. The allegations against the prince have tarnished his image in the public eye, possibly for the rest of his life. 

How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.