Prince Andrew resigns from his flagship Pitch@Palace project

Prince Andrew’s Pitch@Palace project is to be kicked out of Buckingham Palace in a final humiliation at the end of a catastrophic week for the Duke of York. 

The latest humiliation for the Duke of York comes as Barclays ended its funding for his Dragons’ Den-style Pitch@Palace, which he also resigned from after stepping down from Royal duties.

It follows days of speculation about his future with the successful private initiative he founded for start-ups, which he’d hoped to continue running despite the backlash he faces over his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew appears to have bowed to pressure and stepped down, with the Telegraph reporting the move, which came a day after one sponsor said his plans to continue leading Pitch were ‘not tenable’. 

He quit just hours after being seen horse riding with the Queen in Windsor Great Park as the duke turned to the Queen for support. It is the first time they’ve been spotted together since she told him to step down from public duties after discussing it with Prince Charles.

His resignation comes after Royal advisers suggested that a trip to Bahrain as guest of honour at one of the initiative’s events. 

Andrew was seen out riding today with the Queen as Her Majesty showed support for her son

Andrew was seen out riding today with the Queen as Her Majesty showed support for her son

Andrew was seen out riding today with the Queen as Her Majesty showed support for her son

Since the disastrous Newsnight interview, the Duke of York has reportedly resigned from his role with his flagship business project Pitch@Palace

Since the disastrous Newsnight interview, the Duke of York has reportedly resigned from his role with his flagship business project Pitch@Palace

Andrew (pictured earlier this year) was expected to travel to the Middle East this weekend as part of his Pitch project but has cancelled plans following reported pressure from his family

Prince Andrew’s accuser to twist the knife: BBC Panorama interview with Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts WILL be broadcast on December 2 

The deepening crisis surrounding Prince Andrew is set to intensify after it was revealed a BBC interview with Virginia Roberts will air next week

The deepening crisis surrounding Prince Andrew is set to intensify after it was revealed a BBC interview with Virginia Roberts will air next week

The deepening crisis surrounding Prince Andrew is set to intensify after it was revealed a BBC interview with Virginia Roberts will air next week

The deepening crisis surrounding Prince Andrew is set to intensify after it was revealed a BBC interview with Virginia Roberts will air next week.

Ms Roberts, who claims she was sex trafficked by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein into sleeping with the Duke of York on three occasions, will speak out on Monday.

The 35-year-old, who says she had intercourse with the prince while aged 17, spoke to Panorama before the Royal appeared on Saturday’s Newsnight.

Ms Roberts, now known as Ms Giuffre after marrying, claims that billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein trafficked her to London from the US.

She was said to be furious that her interview – which was filmed three weeks before Andrew’s Newsnight chat aired – had not appeared on TV earlier. 

A source close to her said she ‘made no bones’ about the Duke’s denial during her sit-down with Panorama, in which she is said to demand he comes clean. 

The source said the her legal team have now idea why the Panorama interview has not aired.

They claim that every broadcaster to have interviewed Ms Giuffre has aired them ‘almost immediately’ but the BBC hasn’t.

But BBC sources says that the interview forms part of a larger investigation and it is for that reason that it has not yet aired. 

There were also claims last night that as well as Pitch moving out of Buckingham Palace, the prince may even lose his small private office there – funded by the Queen – as he is no longer a working royal for the ‘foreseeable future’.

Andrew occupies a small suite of rooms in the palace, including two small offices, a meeting room and a bedroom he uses when staying overnight. Two sources said yesterday the teams working on Pitch and iDEA would be moving out, although one claimed it was a ‘natural progression’ because of the initiatives’ rapid growth.

Andrew’s private secretary Amanda Thirsk, who played a key role in persuading him to do the interview, has been shunted from her role to become the chief executive of Pitch. But sources close to the prince were keen to play down claims that his small team of personal staff – including his private secretary, a PA, a finance executive and an equerry – will also be kicked out of the palace.

‘Pitch and iDEA were always going to move out but his private office will remain here,’ they said.

‘It’s only a very small team anyway but it will just be that little bit smaller because there will be less to do for the foreseeable future.’

The initiative will now be known only as ‘Pitch’ and will continue to be run by the Duke’s former private secretary Amanda Thirsk, sources told The Daily Telegraph.

The Prince of Wales will be fuming with his brother after the bungled BBC Newsnight interview and his decision to invite his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, to Buckingham Palace yesterday, experts on Charles have told MailOnline.

Prince Charles is set to fly back to the UK from his royal tour on Monday, when he is expected to read his younger brother the riot act. 

A royal aide yesterday confirmed that Beatrice and Eugenie will continue with a limited number of royal duties as before.

‘The Princesses do undertake a small number of royal engagements each year, as and when asked, and that will continue,’ a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

So we will see them on the Palace balcony after Trooping The Colour, at a couple of garden parties and the occasional evening reception. But that, it seems, will be it.

Andrew’s years of lobbying for the ‘blood Princesses’ to have a greater role in The Firm — something that brought him into conflict with Prince Charles and his vision of a slimmed-down monarchy — has finally been thwarted.

High profile business sponsors KPMG, Standard Chartered and Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company, have all said they will not be renewing their financial support for Pitch.

Prince Andrew has been forced to step down from his pet Pitch@Palace event. He is pictured leaving his home in Windsor yesterday

Prince Andrew has been forced to step down from his pet Pitch@Palace event. He is pictured leaving his home in Windsor yesterday

Prince Andrew has been forced to step down from his pet Pitch@Palace event. He is pictured leaving his home in Windsor yesterday

The beleaguered royal also faces the prospect of Virginia Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, who alleges she had under-age sex with the duke, being interviewed on BBC‘s Panorama programme early in December.

And the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) became the latest organisation to confirm Andrew would no longer be its figurehead, following the controversy around his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

In a statement, an RPO spokesperson said: ‘Following HRH The Duke of York’s announcement that he will be stepping back from public life, management representatives of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) met with Prince Andrew’s office on Thursday afternoon.

‘At a subsequent meeting of the RPO Board, it was decided that the Orchestra should part company with its patron, with immediate effect.

These are the 35 businesses that support his start -up project: Pitch@Palace but ten have now quit. 5 businesses: Advertising Week Europe, KPMG, Aon, Standard Chartered and Gravity Road and five academic institutions:  Bond University in Queensland, Melbourne's RMIT,  University of Wollongong, Murdoch University in Perth and Fondation Rideau Hall in Canada. The Stelios Foundation and the Chinese Li Ka Shing Foundation are the only two to stand by him

These are the 35 businesses that support his start -up project: Pitch@Palace but ten have now quit. 5 businesses: Advertising Week Europe, KPMG, Aon, Standard Chartered and Gravity Road and five academic institutions:  Bond University in Queensland, Melbourne's RMIT,  University of Wollongong, Murdoch University in Perth and Fondation Rideau Hall in Canada. The Stelios Foundation and the Chinese Li Ka Shing Foundation are the only two to stand by him

These are the 35 businesses that support his start -up project: Pitch@Palace but ten have now quit. 5 businesses: Advertising Week Europe, KPMG, Aon, Standard Chartered and Gravity Road and five academic institutions:  Bond University in Queensland, Melbourne’s RMIT,  University of Wollongong, Murdoch University in Perth and Fondation Rideau Hall in Canada. The Stelios Foundation and the Chinese Li Ka Shing Foundation are the only two to stand by him

‘The RPO would like to express its gratitude to His Royal Highness for his support of the Orchestra over the past 15 years.’

Andrew was expected to travel to the Middle East this weekend as part of his Pitch project but has cancelled plans following reported pressure from his family.

Boarding school drops Andrew as a patron  

An independent boarding school in south London today dropped Andrew as a patron. 

Whitgift School, part of the John Whitgift Foundation, a charity based in Croydon, announced it will be seeking a new patron.

The School’s 27th Headmaster, Chris Ramsey said: ‘Following the Duke of York’s decision to stand aside from public duties, a decision has been made by the School and with the approval of the Court of Governors, to seek new patronages in the future.’ 

It has also been reported his private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, has been removed from her palace-funded role and will instead become the chief executive of Pitch.

The Daily Mail said Ms Thirsk, believed to have been the driving force behind Andrew’s Newsnight interview, will now run the business mentorship scheme for start-ups and tech entrepreneurs after she was dismissed on Thursday.

Ms Thirsk will also manage the Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award after the duke quit his life as a working royal on Wednesday.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman would not comment on reports the duke had stepped down from leading Pitch.

She said: ‘The duke will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of Buckingham Palace. We recognise there will be a period of time while this transition takes place.’

‘Furious’ Charles ‘to read the riot act’ to Andrew: Prince of Wales prepares for showdown with his brother when he returns from New Zealand on Monday

By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter for MailOnline

The Queen took Prince Andrew horse riding today – the first time they have been seen together since she fired him – as Prince Charles prepares to fly 11,000 miles home to ‘read him the riot act’ for damaging the monarchy over the Epstein scandal.

The Prince of Wales will be fuming with his brother after the bungled BBC Newsnight interview and his decision to invite his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, to Buckingham Palace yesterday, experts on Charles told MailOnline. 

Royal author Phil Dampier said: ‘I’m sure when Charles returns from New Zealand he will sit Andrew down and read him the riot act’. 

This morning Queen and Andrew rode in the rain through the grounds of Windsor Castle just 48 hours after she effectively sacked him at the behest of her eldest son.

Tom Bower, author of the explosive biography of Charles, the ‘Rebel Prince’, told MailOnline: ‘There’s no love lost between Charles and Andrew and I’m certain they will meet. 

Prince Andrew (centre left) looks at the Queen (centre right) as they were riding through the Windsor Castle estate this morning in a photo that shows her son has not been cut off completely

Prince Andrew (centre left) looks at the Queen (centre right) as they were riding through the Windsor Castle estate this morning in a photo that shows her son has not been cut off completely

Prince Andrew (centre left) looks at the Queen (centre right) as they were riding through the Windsor Castle estate this morning in a photo that shows her son has not been cut off completely

The Queen, pictured right with Andrew, is said to have spoken to Prince Charles who is in New Zealand and told his mother that Andrew had to be cut adrift to save the monarchy

The Queen, pictured right with Andrew, is said to have spoken to Prince Charles who is in New Zealand and told his mother that Andrew had to be cut adrift to save the monarchy

The Queen, pictured right with Andrew, is said to have spoken to Prince Charles who is in New Zealand and told his mother that Andrew had to be cut adrift to save the monarchy

The royals were joined by two members of staff in the rain close to the monarch's Berkshire home. The Queen lives in Windsor Castle the majority of the time with Prince Philip. Andrew's Royal Lodge is in the grounds.

The royals were joined by two members of staff in the rain close to the monarch's Berkshire home. The Queen lives in Windsor Castle the majority of the time with Prince Philip. Andrew's Royal Lodge is in the grounds.

The royals were joined by two members of staff in the rain close to the monarch’s Berkshire home. The Queen lives in Windsor Castle the majority of the time with Prince Philip. Andrew’s Royal Lodge is in the grounds.

‘Charles will be furious that his trip to New Zealand has been completely overshadowed. The one thing Charles is determined to do is inherit the crown and he won’t let anyone get in the way’. 

Mr Bower said Charles will also have been apoplectic with rage after the Duchess of York turned up at Buckingham Palace ‘waving out of the window’ to see her ex-husband yesterday evening – and will want to ‘ensure she can’t ever return’.

He said: ‘I’m sure she [Fergie] will have been instrumental in encouraging Andrew to do that BBC interview. She should never be allowed back into Buckingham Palace. Andrew should leave too’. He added: ‘Beatrice’s wedding will have to be a cheaper, quieter, more private affair otherwise there will be complete uproar’.   

Prince Charles visited the Christchurch Cathedral site in New Zealand and a university today where reporters tried to ask him about the Epstein scandal that has overshadowed his trip

Prince Charles visited the Christchurch Cathedral site in New Zealand and a university today where reporters tried to ask him about the Epstein scandal that has overshadowed his trip

Prince Charles visited the Christchurch Cathedral site in New Zealand and a university today where reporters tried to ask him about the Epstein scandal that has overshadowed his trip

The heir to the throne, who called his mother on Tuesday demanding Andrew be retired aged 59, was forced to step in again last night to stop his errant brother heading to Bahrain on a charity junket tomorrow.   

It came as BBC Panorama revealed its interview with Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, who says Andrew is an ‘abuser’ who had sex with her three times when she was 17, will be broadcast on Monday, December 2. 

Charles, who is on a royal visit to New Zealand and the Solomon Islands with his wife Camilla until Monday, looked grim-faced as he ignored questions about Andrew’s scandal during an university visit.   

On yet another extraordinary day for the royal family, it also emerged:

  • Virginia Roberts, who claims she was sex trafficked by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein into sleeping with the Duke of York on three occasions, will speak out on BBC Panorama on Monday, December 2;
  • Andrew forced to pull out of a work junket to Bahrain this weekend after being persuaded by his family led by Prince Charles that it was ‘not a good idea’;
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra the latest big name organisation to drop Andrew as a patron;
  • Beatrice and Eugenie will be victims of Charles’ plans for a ‘slimmed down’ monarchy – hastened by Andrew’s BBC Newsnight catastrophe;

Royal experts believe that the transition of power from the Queen to Charles is increasing at speed, shown when Charles demanded Andrew be sacked in a phone call from New Zealand.

Phil Dampier said:  ‘It’s well known that Prince Charles wants to have a slimmed down monarchy when he becomes King and the Andrew-Epstein scandal has forced him to act sooner.  At 93 it’s not fair to expect the Queen to deal with such problems and although I’m sure she is still capable of making decisions, she realises that the future is for Charles and he has to agree policy’. 

The 35 businesses that sponsor Andrew’s charity – and the companies now pulling out after BBC disaster

Cutting ties

KPMG

Standard Chartered

Aon 

Gravity Road 

Advertising Week Europe

Bond University 

Melbourne’s RMIT University

Fondation Rideau Hall 

University of Wollongong 

Murdoch University 

Standing by Andrew

Stelios Foundation 

Li Ka Shing Foundation 

Considering position

AstraZeneca 

Barclays 

Yet to respond

Bosch

Air Asia

Bank of China

JD.com 

Tencent

Business Horizon International Group

InMotion

Arm

China Construction bank

Hult business school

Royal Academy of Engineering  

Halkin Ventures

IMB Bank

Woodside

Tamkeen 

The Chosunilbo

Khalifa Fund 

Fieldhouse 

IX

Tom Bower says that there has been a long power struggle between the heir to the throne, Charles, and the Queen’s favourite son, Andrew.

The Queen’s Private Secretary Christopher Geidt served as Her Majesty’s right hand man for seven years but was ejected from the post two years ago amid claims of a royal power struggle between Andrew in Buckingham Palace and Charles in Clarence House over the succession.

Asked about the battle between Her Majesty’s eldest sons Mr Bower said: ‘The blame for the crisis falls on the Duke of York – but Andrew and Charles both conspired to removed Christopher Geidt as the Queen’s Private Secretary. They could then take control at the palace – but in turn the palace lost control of Andrew’. 

He added: ‘This crisis will not lead to the Queen’s abdication – but Charles is keen to prove himself. It has been clear that this year he has tried to be less controversial. A 93-year-old woman cannot do it alone and Charles is trying to show he is in control but the truth is the transition from mother to son started three to four years ago. 

‘Charles wants to make it clear that there are clear rules for the royals if you want to remain you have to obey them – and that should not just worry Andrew, that should worry Meghan and Harry too’. 

Veteran former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt wrote in the Spectator that Charles is now ‘pulling the strings’ as the Queen grows older.

He said: ‘Andrew won’t have embraced his fallen destiny. He’ll have clung to the balustrades as he resisted. While the Queen handed him his P45, it will have been filled in by her heir, Prince Charles.

‘Andrew’s departure reminds us of the inevitable shift in power from Monarch to ‘shadow king’. It’s Prince Charles and his people who are increasingly pulling the strings. The sacking – for that is what it was – is also a reminder that the British Monarchy is a dynasty determined to survive and it doesn’t welcome debates during a General Election campaign about its merits in the 21st century’. 

Andrew, who regularly rides horses with the Queen, was last night forced to pull out of a work junket to Bahrain this weekend after being persuaded by his family that it was ‘not a good idea’ following this week’s dramatic events.

He had planned to fly to the Middle East to attend an event connected with his Pitch@Palace initiative – less than 72 hours after being forced to retire from royal duties over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

But hours after details of Andrew’s foreign jaunt emerged, sources said he had decided to cancel it and was with his mother instead today. 

Charles was heckled in New Zealand today – a royal tour completely overshadowed by Andrew’s fall from grace – and he is flying back to Britain via the Solomon Islands on Monday where he is expected to meet his younger brother and ‘read him the riot act’.

A source said: ‘He was persuaded by his family that it was not a good idea in light of this week’s events’.

Despite the setback, he seemed upbeat yesterday. Dressed in a suit and tie, he gave a wave and a smile as he drove away from his family home in Windsor Great Park.

Later his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was also all smiles as she was seen arriving at Buckingham Palace. 

Epstein (pictured) killed himself while facing trafficking charges

Epstein (pictured) killed himself while facing trafficking charges

Andrew appears to hold Jeffrey Epstein's victim Virginia Roberts, then 17, by the waist as the sex offender’s lover Ghislaine Maxwell looks on in 2001 in London

Andrew appears to hold Jeffrey Epstein's victim Virginia Roberts, then 17, by the waist as the sex offender’s lover Ghislaine Maxwell looks on in 2001 in London

Andrew (right) appears to hold Jeffrey Epstein’s victim Virginia Roberts, then 17, by the waist as the sex offender’s lover Ghislaine Maxwell looks on in 2001 in London. Epstein (left) killed himself while facing trafficking charges 

The prince announced on Wednesday evening his intention to ‘step back from public duties for the foreseeable future’ after he was widely criticised for his comments during a BBC Newsnight interview.

He was accused of showing a lack of empathy for Epstein’s victims and no remorse over his friendship with the financier. But yesterday’s cancelled plans to go to Bahrain proved, however, that he still clearly plans to continue working on private initiatives.

A source close to Andrew put a positive spin on this week’s dramatic events, saying: ‘Despite everything the duke is getting a lot of support. The entrepreneurs he helps have been tremendously sweet and kind. This really feels like a witch-hunt. He’d been hounded about this since 2011 non stop. So he’s very positive about it actually. He can concentrate on clearing his name.’

Losing his patronage of the Outward Bound Trust will be a major blow to the duke, who only took over the role earlier this year, succeeding his father, the Duke of Edinburgh. 

The charity helps disadvantaged children through outdoor activities. The University of Huddersfield had earlier stood by the duke but announced he was stepping down last night following an outcry by students.

The Duke of York speaks to BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis in an interview shown on Saturday which led to a furious backlash about the prince's friendship with Epstein

The Duke of York speaks to BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis in an interview shown on Saturday which led to a furious backlash about the prince's friendship with Epstein

The Duke of York speaks to BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis in an interview shown on Saturday which led to a furious backlash about the prince’s friendship with Epstein 

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions also announced yesterday that the duke was no longer its president. Andrew is patron of around 200 charities and groups and more resignations are now likely to follow.

It has been made clear that Andrew is very keen to keep his Pitch@Palace initiative, a Dragon’s Den-style scheme which helps find funding and provides mentoring for tech start-ups and entrepreneurs which he founded in 2014. 

The project is said to have created 6,000 jobs over give years and was, one courtier said, one of the ‘few’ real success stories of Andrew’s roller-coaster royal career.

He was fighting ‘tooth and nail’ to keep it – hence his defiance in initially planning to travel to Bahrain this weekend.

Royal officials confirmed yesterday that he would continue working on it but made clear that he would do so without the support of Buckingham Palace. 

While Andrew’s decision to step back from public life means he will no longer be able to pick up the bill for expensive travel from taxpayers, he is still likely to pocket as much as £250,000 a year, the sum he is rumoured to receive privately from the Queen to run his office.

Unlike the Sovereign Grant, which is government money, Andrew’s annual upkeep is paid from the Privy Purse, which is provided by the Duchy of Lancaster – land and assets owned by the Queen.

But, as ‘significant’ controller of Pitch@Palace, he will be entitled to two per cent of any deals made through the scheme for three years, the Daily Telegraph reports. 

It is also understood that he will be able to hold events at palaces on commercial bases, with one planned for Pitch@Palace at St James’s next month. 

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has confirmed Prince Andrew is no longer its patron following the controversy around his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Last Friday, Sarah came out in support of Andrew with a statement posted on social media in which she praised his 'sense of honour and truth'

Last Friday, Sarah came out in support of Andrew with a statement posted on social media in which she praised his 'sense of honour and truth'

The Duke leaves the Royal Lodge family home at Windsor Great Park in Berkshire this morning after he stepped down from royal duties yesterday

The Duke leaves the Royal Lodge family home at Windsor Great Park in Berkshire this morning after he stepped down from royal duties yesterday

The Duke (right) leaves the Royal Lodge family home at Windsor Great Park in Berkshire this morning after he stepped down from royal duties yesterday and, left, his ex-wife’s supportive post on social media 

In a statement, a spokesperson said: ‘Following HRH The Duke of York’s announcement that he will be stepping back from public life, management representatives of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) met with Prince Andrew’s office on Thursday afternoon.

‘At a subsequent meeting of the RPO Board, it was decided that the Orchestra should part company with its Patron, with immediate effect.

‘The RPO would like to express its gratitude to His Royal Highness for his support of the Orchestra over the past 15 years.

‘As one of the world’s leading symphony orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra looks forward to an extensive UK and international concert schedule in the year ahead.’

The Outward Bound Trust – which Andrew has supported for decades – accepted his resignation as patron and Huddersfield University confirmed the duke would be relinquishing his role as its chancellor.

Academics and students are urging a Cambridge University college to axe Prince Andrew’s honorary fellowship – one of the few nominal roles the under-fire royal still holds.

The Duke of York has become embroiled in a crisis after giving a car-crash TV interview over his friendship with paedo billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

In an open letter Cambridge University academics blasted the Prince as ‘a man that fails to condemn harassment and sexual misconduct.’

Hughes Hall made the royal an honorary don at the 134-year-old college last year. But since his explosive BBC Newsnight interview on Saturday, charities and sponsors have been withdrawing support.

He has been stood down from royal duties, and lost his £249,000-a-year royal salary.

An American lawyer for some of the alleged victims of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein called on the duke to honour his pledge to help with investigations into his former friend.

His offer came in a dramatic statement on Wednesday evening when the duke quit his life as a working royal over his association with the disgraced US financier. 

Andrew made the bombshell statement about stepping back yesterday after mounting pressure after his interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein

Andrew made the bombshell statement about stepping back yesterday after mounting pressure after his interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein

Andrew made the bombshell statement about stepping back yesterday after mounting pressure after his interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein

The moment that sealed Prince Andrew’s fate: When Sue from Leeds asked ‘Is the monarchy fit for purpose?’ in ITV leaders debate it terrified Buckingham Palace and forced Prince Charles to act

By Alexander Robertson for MailOnline 

A simple question put forward during the ITV leader’s debate by a viewer known only as ‘Sue from Leeds’ was the catalyst that saw Prince Andrew sacked from public duties, it has been revealed.

Prince Charles told the Queen to make the Duke of York step down from public life over fears that the Epstein scandal was overshadowing the general election.

It is understood that the decision was taken after Sue – whose surname is not yet known – asked during Tuesday’s TV show: ‘Is the monarchy fit for purpose?’

Julie Etchingham, who was chairing the debate, put the question to party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, in a move that sent shockwaves through Buckingham Palace.

Royal sources claim in that moment, the Prince of Wales became convinced that his brother’s friendship with Jeffrey Epstein had become too much of a distraction. 

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are photographed in front of the damage Christchurch cathedral

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are photographed in front of the damage Christchurch cathedral

Charles urged the Queen to have Andrew (pictured, with his brother) step down from royal duties

Charles urged the Queen to have Andrew (pictured, with his brother) step down from royal duties

Charles (left, in New Zealand with Camilla today) urged the Queen to have Andrew (right, with his brother) step down from royal duties

Julie Etchingham, who was chairing the debate, put the question to party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson (pictured), in a move that sent shockwaves through the palace

Julie Etchingham, who was chairing the debate, put the question to party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson (pictured), in a move that sent shockwaves through the palace

Julie Etchingham, who was chairing the debate, put the question to party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson (pictured), in a move that sent shockwaves through the palace

Prince Andrew (pictured leaving Buckingham Palace on Thursday) was told to step down from royal duties

Prince Andrew (pictured leaving Buckingham Palace on Thursday) was told to step down from royal duties

Prince Andrew (pictured leaving Buckingham Palace on Thursday) was told to step down from royal duties 

Fears that the issue could be perceived as interfering with democracy served as the tipping point for the Prince of Wales, according to the Guardian. 

Do you know the viewer known as Sue from Leeds? 

Call 0203 6153767 or email to either s.murphy-bates@mailonline.co.uk or tips@dailymail.co.uk 

The future king took it upon himself to speak about the issue with his mother, who effectively sacked the Duke of York from public duty at Charles’ behest. 

Senior aides are also said to have expressed similar worries to the Queen about distracting from the election. 

Other worries circulated about the fallout upstaging Charles and Camilla’s royal tour of New Zealand, with the pair heckled at one point in Christchurch today.  

After sacking her ‘favourite son’, the Queen today gave a defiant show of support for Prince Andrew as she took him riding.

Her Majesty and her ‘favourite son’ rode in the rain through the grounds of Windsor Castle this morning.

Andrew was last night forced to pull out of a work junket to Bahrain this weekend after being persuaded by his family that it was ‘not a good idea’.

He had planned to fly to the Middle East to attend an event for with his Pitch@Palace initiative – less than 72 hours after being forced to retire from royal duties. 

But hours after details of Andrew’s foreign jaunt emerged, sources said he had decided to cancel it and was with his mother instead today.

Despite the setback, he seemed upbeat yesterday. Dressed in a suit and tie, he gave a wave and a smile as he drove away from his family home in Windsor Great Park.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Camilla and Charles today in Christchurch

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Camilla and Charles today in Christchurch

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Camilla and Charles today in Christchurch

The Prince of Wales greeted people during a public walk in Christchurch, New Zealand

The Prince of Wales greeted people during a public walk in Christchurch, New Zealand

The Prince of Wales greeted people during a public walk in Christchurch, New Zealand

Charles in Christchurch

Charles in Christchurch

The Queen

The Queen

The future king (in Christchurch today, left) took it upon himself to speak about the issue with his mother (right), who effectively sacked the Duke of York from public duty at Charles’ behest

Later his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was also all smiles as she was seen arriving at Buckingham Palace.

The prince announced on Wednesday evening his intention to ‘step back from public duties for the foreseeable future’ after he was widely criticised for his comments during a BBC Newsnight interview.

He was accused of showing a lack of empathy for Epstein’s victims and no remorse over his friendship with the financier. But yesterday’s cancelled plans to go to Bahrain proved, however, that he still clearly plans to continue working on private initiatives.

A source close to Andrew put a positive spin on this week’s dramatic events, saying: ‘Despite everything the duke is getting a lot of support. The entrepreneurs he helps have been tremendously sweet and kind.

‘This really feels like a witch-hunt. He’d been hounded about this since 2011 non stop. So he’s very positive about it actually. He can concentrate on clearing his name.’

Losing his patronage of the Outward Bound Trust will be a major blow to the duke, who only took over the role earlier this year, succeeding his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The charity helps disadvantaged children through outdoor activities. The University of Huddersfield had earlier stood by the duke but announced he was stepping down last night following an outcry by students.

What now for Papa’s Little Princesses? Prince Andrew has long funded their jet-setting lifestyles, but can the Royal Family protect Eugenie and Beatrice (the bride-to-be) in the wake of their father’s fall from grace?

Even as Prince Andrew was penning that historic statement on Wednesday evening announcing his withdrawal from public life, the edict had gone out: protect the Princesses.

By any measure, Beatrice and Eugenie have suffered a traumatic few days — from the excruciating Newsnight interview on Saturday to the widespread criticism of their father at home and abroad for his links to the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

They were, however putting a brave face on it, and were spotted out and about in London this week, Beatrice at a private members’ club and Eugenie at a charity event.

Beatrice and Eugenie have suffered a traumatic few days following their father's excruciating Newsnight interview on Saturday (pictured in 2011 at William and Kate's wedding)

Beatrice and Eugenie have suffered a traumatic few days following their father's excruciating Newsnight interview on Saturday (pictured in 2011 at William and Kate's wedding)

Beatrice and Eugenie have suffered a traumatic few days following their father’s excruciating Newsnight interview on Saturday (pictured in 2011 at William and Kate’s wedding)

Princess Eugene seen leaving Elephant Family Charity Dinner in London

Princess Eugene seen leaving Elephant Family Charity Dinner in London

Princess Beatrice spotted for the first time since her father Prince Andrews's highly controversial Newsnight interview

Princess Beatrice spotted for the first time since her father Prince Andrews's highly controversial Newsnight interview

Andrew’s years of lobbying for the ‘blood Princesses’ to have a greater role in The Firm — something that brought him into conflict with Prince Charles and his vision of a slimmed-down monarchy — has finally been thwarted

But, with their scandal-prone father having damaged his reputation beyond repair, there is now much speculation about their future.

Just how will the Duke of York’s effective ‘sacking’ from The Firm impact their own lives and careers?

A royal aide yesterday confirmed that Beatrice and Eugenie will continue with a limited number of royal duties as before.

‘The Princesses do undertake a small number of royal engagements each year, as and when asked, and that will continue,’ a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

So we will see them on the Palace balcony after Trooping The Colour, at a couple of garden parties and the occasional evening reception. But that, it seems, will be it.

Andrew’s years of lobbying for the ‘blood Princesses’ to have a greater role in The Firm — something that brought him into conflict with Prince Charles and his vision of a slimmed-down monarchy — has finally been thwarted.

Now that he has been retired — be it temporarily or permanently — Andrew will not be able to promote his girls in quite the same way any more. ‘The promotion which Andrew had hoped for in terms of his daughters taking on more duties will now never happen,’ a royal source told the Mail yesterday. ‘They will have to focus on the day job.’

A royal aide yesterday confirmed that Beatrice and Eugenie will continue with a limited number of royal duties as before (pictured skiing in Verbier in 2001)

A royal aide yesterday confirmed that Beatrice and Eugenie will continue with a limited number of royal duties as before (pictured skiing in Verbier in 2001)

A royal aide yesterday confirmed that Beatrice and Eugenie will continue with a limited number of royal duties as before (pictured skiing in Verbier in 2001)

That may not be the most enticing prospect for either of them.

For the record, Eugenie, 29, has a role at the Hauser & Wirth Art Gallery in Mayfair. She starts at 9am and leaves at 5pm sharp. 

According to a recruitment website, she can expect to be paid in the region of £32,000 to £34,000. Beatrice, 31, is vice-president of partnerships and strategy at Afiniti, an American software company where she focuses on ‘client development’. Her salary is unknown.

Certainly, these jobs are not enough to keep them in the manner to which they have become accustomed, and Andrew has long subsidised their lifestyles.

Their father’s calamity may have a financial impact then as well as being personally distressing — hence that edict.

A Palace source said: ‘. . . there was a sense of everyone circling the wagons around the girls. There is a feeling that they must not be made to pay for the sins of the father.

‘The Queen is particularly fond of Beatrice and Eugenie, and she respects the way that Andrew and Sarah have brought them up. Even though you may feel that they made such a mess of their own lives, they have been loving co-parents.

‘The Queen will continue to invite Beatrice and Eugenie to Balmoral over the summer and she sees quite a lot of them at Windsor. They, in turn, are fond of ‘Super Gran’, as they call her.

‘The feeling is that everyone wants to protect them from this hurt and from further hurt, rather than dance on their father’s ‘grave’.’

Eugenie and Beatrice's jobs are not enough to keep them in the manner to which they have become accustomed, and Andrew has long subsidised their lifestyles (pictured at a ball in Windsor in 2006)

Eugenie and Beatrice's jobs are not enough to keep them in the manner to which they have become accustomed, and Andrew has long subsidised their lifestyles (pictured at a ball in Windsor in 2006)

Eugenie and Beatrice’s jobs are not enough to keep them in the manner to which they have become accustomed, and Andrew has long subsidised their lifestyles (pictured at a ball in Windsor in 2006)

High on the agenda is the immediate dilemma over Beatrice’s wedding. Planning is understood to be well underway for her 2020 nuptials and there was an expectation that details would be announced early in the New Year.

In the light of what has happened this week, any re-run of Eugenie’s ostentatious Windsor Castle wedding last October — a guest list of 800, an open carriage ride through Windsor and a £2 million-plus bill to the taxpayer for security and clean up — can be ruled out.

Critics claimed that the sheer scale of the event was a reflection of Andrew’s determination to show Eugenie’s status as a senior royal (she is ninth in line to the throne).

To be fair to Beatrice, nuptials to rival her sister’s were not something she desired, not least because her fiance, property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 35, was in a previous relationship from which he has a young child.

So her wedding was always going to be less of a public spectacle, say sources. In addition, ‘[her mother Sarah] has got the big wedding out of her system and so [Beatrice] will have it in another much smaller royal chapel or else privately at St George’s Chapel in Windsor’.

York Minster, which last hosted a royal wedding in 1960 when the Duke of Kent married Yorkshire landowner’s daughter Katharine Worsley, has also been mentioned, as has the possibility of a small, informal ‘do’ abroad.

Beatrice's wedding will unlikely be a re-run of Eugenie's ostentatious Windsor Castle wedding last October (pictured)

Beatrice's wedding will unlikely be a re-run of Eugenie's ostentatious Windsor Castle wedding last October (pictured)

Beatrice’s wedding will unlikely be a re-run of Eugenie’s ostentatious Windsor Castle wedding last October (pictured)

Although the Duchess of York said a few months ago that ‘it can only be in Britain’, recent events may prompt a change of heart. Then there is the not insignificant question of who might pay for the wedding. Prince Andrew receives £249,000 annually from the Queen to fund his private office, and he has also benefitted from many discreet commercial deals over the years, as the Mail reported earlier this week.

Acting as a fixer for a Greek water company wanting to build sewage pipelines in Kazakhstan was reported to have brought him nearly £4 million. But in the aftermath of the Epstein scandal, such lucrative business propositions may well dry up. It’s sure to be a cause for concern for the sisters.

Beatrice lives — at least part of the time — in a taxpayer-funded apartment at St James’s Palace, while Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, a wine merchant and ambassador for a tequila brand, live in Ivy Cottage, a three- bedroom house in the grounds of Kensington Palace.

That is being rented to them at a ‘commercial rate’, which is said to be around £182,000 a year. It has always been assumed that Prince Andrew covers this cost. At weekends, Beatrice and Eugenie go home to the 30-room Royal Lodge in Windsor, leased at a peppercorn sum to Andrew, where their divorced parents live together.

Beatrice (pictured with her parents at Ascot last year) lives — at least part of the time — in a taxpayer-funded apartment at St James's Palace

Beatrice (pictured with her parents at Ascot last year) lives — at least part of the time — in a taxpayer-funded apartment at St James's Palace

Beatrice (pictured with her parents at Ascot last year) lives — at least part of the time — in a taxpayer-funded apartment at St James’s Palace

They call their parents ‘Mumsy’ and ‘Papa’ and are utterly devoted to them both. Eugenie’s Instagram is full of fond tributes to them as loving and kind influences.

Royal Lodge has been the venue for numerous parties over the years which have, at times, descended into high jinks. Mystery still surrounds the facial injury pop star Ed Sheeran acquired in 2016, supposedly after being ‘knighted’ with a ceremonial sword by Beatrice in a party prank.

Eugenie’s 25th birthday party was a landmark fancy dress event, with the Princess as Snow White and seven dwarfs hired to follow her around the marquee.

Away from the jollity of Royal Lodge, both girls enjoy a lifestyle rather beyond what their jobs might afford, including designer wardrobes, frequent holidays and dining out. Both are socially popular, with a huge range of wealthy, celebrity friends. Eugenie, for example, is close to models Suki Waterhouse and Cara Delevingne, pop stars Ellie Goulding and Robbie Williams, artist Tracey Emin and Kate Moss’s photographer boyfriend Count Nikolai von Bismarck.

Beatrice counts Dasha Zhukova, an art enthusiast and ex-wife of the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, among her ‘besties’.

With adoring parents who never let anyone forget their offspring’s royal status, we can perhaps forgive Beatrice and Eugenie for having a high opinion of their own significance. Privileged and socially effervescent, they are also, perhaps, just a shade naive. In an interview with Vogue magazine, Eugenie described herself and Beatrice as ‘working, young royal women’.

‘My sister, Bea, and I have charities we’re patrons of,’ she said. ‘We also try to support Granny and Grandpa in any way we can because that is what family is for.’

Admirable words and they are both rightly proud of their various patronages. It is to be hoped that their father’s downfall — charities and businesses are rushing to distance themselves from him — does not cause problems for them in their philanthropic endeavours.

A royal source said last night: ‘They are two young women with a real sense of duty and a real sense of what it means to be a part of the Royal Family.

‘[Their mother] has always drummed into them they must say please and thank you, they must always smile for the media, that attention is a part of their position. Smile and move on is the mantra.’

Smiling must be the last thing either feels like doing right now, but no doubt they will soldier on.

Does the Duke STILL not get it? Royal Family step in AGAIN and force Prince Andrew to cancel junket to Bahrain he was about to jet off on a day after ‘stepping back’ from public duties 

Prince Andrew was last night forced to pull out of a work junket to Bahrain this weekend after being persuaded by his family that it was ‘not a good idea’ following this week’s dramatic events.

He had planned to fly to the Middle East to attend an event connected with his Pitch@Palace initiative – less than 72 hours after being forced to retire from royal duties over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

But hours after the Daily Mail contacted Buckingham Palace to say it was about to reveal details of Andrew’s foreign jaunt, sources said he had decided to cancel it. 

Prince Andrew (pictured leaving Buckingham Palace today) was told to cancel his trip to Bahrain amid the controversy over his friendship with Epstein

Prince Andrew (pictured leaving Buckingham Palace today) was told to cancel his trip to Bahrain amid the controversy over his friendship with Epstein

Prince Andrew (pictured leaving Buckingham Palace today) was told to cancel his trip to Bahrain amid the controversy over his friendship with Epstein 

Pictured: Sarah Ferguson arrives at Buckingham Palace, central London, today after coming out in support of Prince Andrew in light of the backlash over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein

Pictured: Sarah Ferguson arrives at Buckingham Palace, central London, today after coming out in support of Prince Andrew in light of the backlash over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein

Pictured: Sarah Ferguson arrives at Buckingham Palace, central London, today after coming out in support of Prince Andrew in light of the backlash over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Charles (pictured, with Camilla in New Zealand) agreed with the Queen that Andrew should step down

Prince Charles (pictured, with Camilla in New Zealand) agreed with the Queen that Andrew should step down

The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace this afternoon after carrying out investitures and heads to Windsor amid the furious backlash about her son's friendship with Epstein

The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace this afternoon after carrying out investitures and heads to Windsor amid the furious backlash about her son's friendship with Epstein

Prince Charles (left, with Camilla in New Zealand) agreed with the Queen (right, leaving Buckingham Palace for Windsor) that Andrew should step down and the family advised the Duke of York not to go to Bahrain 

‘He was persuaded by his family that it was not a good idea in light of this week’s events,’ they said. Despite the setback, he seemed upbeat yesterday. Dressed in a suit and tie, he gave a wave and a smile as he drove away from his family home in Windsor Great Park.

Later his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was also all smiles as she was seen arriving at Buckingham Palace. Furore over Andrew’s former friendship with paedophile Epstein continued yesterday as:

■The duke walked away from some of his most beloved charities and organisations as he began the humiliating process of withdrawing from public life;

■The Outward Bound Trust said he had stepped down as patron while the University of Huddersfield said he had resigned as Chancellor;

■Lawyers for Epstein’s victims said they planned to subpoena Andrew, raising the prospect he could be questioned under oath about what he knows.

The prince announced on Wednesday evening his intention to ‘step back from public duties for the foreseeable future’ after he was widely criticised for his comments during a BBC Newsnight interview.

He was accused of showing a lack of empathy for Epstein’s victims and no remorse over his friendship with the financier. But yesterday’s cancelled plans to go to Bahrain proved, however, that he still clearly plans to continue working on private initiatives.

The Duke of York speaks to BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis in an interview shown on Saturday which led to a furious backlash about the prince's friendship with Epstein

The Duke of York speaks to BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis in an interview shown on Saturday which led to a furious backlash about the prince's friendship with Epstein

The Duke of York speaks to BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis in an interview shown on Saturday which led to a furious backlash about the prince’s friendship with Epstein 

A source close to Andrew put a positive spin on this week’s dramatic events, saying: ‘Despite everything the duke is getting a lot of support. The entrepreneurs he helps have been tremendously sweet and kind. This really feels like a witch-hunt. He’d been hounded about this since 2011 non stop. So he’s very positive about it actually. He can concentrate on clearing his name.’

Losing his patronage of the Outward Bound Trust will be a major blow to the duke, who only took over the role earlier this year, succeeding his father, the Duke of Edinburgh. 

The charity helps disadvantaged children through outdoor activities. The University of Huddersfield had earlier stood by the duke but announced he was stepping down last night following an outcry by students.

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions also announced yesterday that the duke was no longer its president. Andrew is patron of around 200 charities and groups and more resignations are now likely to follow.

It has been made clear that Andrew is very keen to keep his Pitch@Palace initiative, a Dragon’s Den-style scheme which helps find funding and provides mentoring for tech start-ups and entrepreneurs which he founded in 2014. 

The project is said to have created 6,000 jobs over give years and was, one courtier said, one of the ‘few’ real success stories of Andrew’s roller-coaster royal career.

He was fighting ‘tooth and nail’ to keep it – hence his defiance in initially planning to travel to Bahrain this weekend.

Royal officials confirmed yesterday that he would continue working on it but made clear that he would do so without the support of Buckingham Palace. 

While Andrew’s decision to step back from public life means he will no longer be able to pick up the bill for expensive travel from taxpayers, he is still likely to pocket as much as £250,000 a year, the sum he is rumoured to receive privately from the Queen to run his office.

Unlike the Sovereign Grant, which is government money, Andrew’s annual upkeep is paid from the Privy Purse, which is provided by the Duchy of Lancaster – land and assets owned by the Queen.

But, as ‘significant’ controller of Pitch@Palace, he will be entitled to two per cent of any deals made through the scheme for three years, the Daily Telegraph reports.

It is also understood that he will be able to hold events at palaces on commercial bases, with one planned for Pitch@Palace at St James’s next month. 

■More than half the public believe the prince did not tell the truth about his relationship with Epstein during his interview, a poll found. Just six per cent of the 1,600 adults surveyed thought he was being honest, according to the YouGov survey for The Times. Another 43 per cent said they did not know.

Sidelined: Prince Andrew’s top aide behind ‘car crash’ Newsnight interview is shunted into new job running his Pitch@Palace scheme 

By Royal Correspondent for the Daily Mail 

Prince Andrew’s right-hand woman is to be switched to running his tech awards and business funding scheme, a source said last night.

Thirsk (pictured) will lose her job, a royal source said

Thirsk (pictured) will lose her job, a royal source said

Thirsk (pictured) will lose her job, a royal source said

Amanda Thirsk, who was instrumental in persuading the beleaguered royal to agree to his disastrous Newsnight interview, was told yesterday by Andrew that she will no longer be his private secretary.

Instead she will become chief executive of Pitch@Palace, the prince’s Dragons’ Den-style scheme for entrepreneurs, and the Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA), which emulates the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Last night, mother-of-three Mrs Thirsk, who has loyally stood by Andrew for 15 years, was still at her desk and declining to comment.

Buckingham Palace also refused to comment on what it said were ‘private staffing matters’. 

But a royal source insisted: ‘Amanda has been told in no uncertain terms today that she will lose her job [as Andrew’s private secretary].’

A former banker, Mrs Thirsk was taken on in 2004 as the prince’s ‘office controller’. 

In 2012 she was made his private secretary – and gatekeeper. It has been said of her: ‘She is very, very loyal. It is hard to know where she begins and Andrew ends.’ 

How Duke of York’s meetings with Jeffrey Epstein have brought him decades of trouble since 1990s 

– 1990s

Andrew first meets Epstein, reportedly introduced through his friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell. Andrew welcomes Epstein to the Queen’s private Scottish retreat in Aberdeenshire. Andrew later says he sees Epstein ‘infrequently’, adding ‘probably no more than only once or twice a year’.

– 2000

Andrew and Ms Maxwell are seen on holiday with Epstein at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. Epstein and Ms Maxwell attend a party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen to mark Andrew’s 40th birthday, the Princess Royal’s 50th, the Queen Mother’s 100th and Princess Margaret’s 70th.

– 2001

Virginia Roberts claims to have had sex with Andrew ‘three times, including one orgy’, with the first encounter allegedly taking place in Ms Maxwell’s London townhouse. Ms Roberts claims to have had sex with Andrew on two more occasions, at Epstein’s New York home and at an ‘orgy’ on his private island in the Caribbean.

– 2008

Epstein admits prostituting minors and is sentenced to 18 months in prison.

– 2010

Epstein is released from jail. Andrew is photographed with the disgraced Epstein in New York’s Central Park. Footage emerges years later, reportedly shot on December 6 2010, showing him inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, from where he is seen looking out from a large door of the property waving a woman goodbye after Epstein leaves to get into a chauffeur-driven car.

– 2011

The duke quits his role as UK trade envoy after the fallout from the Central Park photos.

– 2015

Buckingham Palace denies Andrew has committed any impropriety after he is named in US court documents related to Epstein. A woman, later named in reports as Ms Roberts, alleges in papers filed in Florida that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under the age of consent in the state.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Andrew, in his first public engagement since he was embroiled in the allegations, responds, saying: ‘Firstly I think I must, and want, for the record, to refer to the events that have taken place in the last few weeks.

‘I just wish to reiterate, and to reaffirm, the statements that have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace.’ In April the claims against Andrew are struck from US civil court records following a federal judge’s ruling.

– 2019

Newly released legal documents show that Johanna Sjoberg, another alleged Epstein victim, claimed Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside the US billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. Buckingham Palace said the allegations are ‘categorically untrue’. Epstein is found dead in his jail cell on August 10, having killed himself after being charged with sex trafficking.

Later that month a pilot on Epstein’s private jet claims Andrew was a passenger on past flights with the financier and Ms Roberts. The Sun newspaper reported that David Rodgers said in a testimony released in August that Epstein, Andrew and the-then 17-year-old travelled to the US Virgin Islands on April 11 2001. Buckingham Palace describes the evidence statement as having ‘a number of inconsistencies’ and said that Andrew was on a different continent in some cases.

Following Epstein’s death, a statement from the palace says that Andrew is ‘appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes’. Breaking his silence on the issue for the first time since 2015, Andrew then releases a statement on August 24 saying: ‘At no stage during the limited time I spent with him (Epstein) did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.’ 

On November 16, the prince gave a ‘disastrous’ BBC interview in which he spoke about his friendship with Epstein and addressed allegations of his own sexual conduct. He faced a barrage of criticism following his television appearance, with the royal accused of a lack of empathy with Epstein’s victims. 

During the interview, Andrew, questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, twice stated his relationship with Epstein, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, had some ‘seriously beneficial outcomes’, giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy. The duke denied he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong as the duke said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat. He cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture that appears to show Andrew with his arm around the waist of Mrs Giuffre, when a teenager.

 

 

 

 

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  1. Anissa Bonnefont retraces the incredible journey of Olivier Rousteing, the “born under X” child who took his revenge on life by becoming a fashion star. A shocking documentary

    He was an abandoned baby, born by cesarean section from a woman who never hugged him. It was in September 1985, in a hospital in Bordeaux. A doctor cut the umbilical cord, the midwives took care of the infant. The one who just gave birth to him is not yet an adult, only 15 years old. She didn’t want to see the little boy.

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