What Does Prince Andrew Stepping Down From Royal Duties Actually Mean?

After a positively catastrophic BBC interview where Prince Andrew tried and failed to explain his association with Jeffrey Epstein, the prince has decided to step back from his royal duties.

 Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew | Christopher Furlong – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Since this announcement, people have had a lot of questions. The most pressing being, what does this actually mean? As Andrew will always be the Queen’s son, he will always be royal, right? So how does he step back from his birthright? What does this mean for the rest of the royal family?

Prince Andrew steps down

On Nov. 20, Andrew released a statement regarding his royal duties.

“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,” he said.

“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,” the statement continued. “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathize 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 investigation, if required.”

What does this actually mean?

There are distinctions when it comes to members of the royal family. Some are full-time “working” royals, which means their salary is paid for by the Privy Council. Others, like Andrew’s children, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, have to earn money through some other venue.

So, Prince Andrew will obviously still be royal, he has not given up his title. Rather, he has decided to step back from his public duties, which just means that he will no longer attend public engagements.

He will most likely remain the Duke of York and keep his place as eighth in line for the throne. His role in the family will simply decrease and he will have a position more like Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, Princess Anne’s children who aren’t working royals.

Though Andrew will no longer be considered a working royal, he will probably continue to receive money from his mother for the foreseeable future. He will also continue to live at the Royal Lodge, which was given to him by the Queen in 2003.

Was this merely a PR move?

Andrew’s move to step down from his duties may change very little in the royal hierarchy, but it does take him out of the public eye, which is exactly what the royal family wants. Now, he won’t have to answer to the public as much as he is no longer working for them. He also won’t be in a position to give any more disastrous interviews as he will probably be staying out of public as much as possible in the coming months.