KPMG has pulled the plug on its sponsorship of Prince Andrew’s Dragons Den-style entrepreneur scheme due to ‘adverse press’ in the wake of his Epstein interview, with three organisations refusing to confirm if the Duke is still a patron.
The accountancy firm has not renewed its sponsorship of the Pitch@Palace scheme, it was revealed this afternoon, after five years of backing the initiative.
A founder member of the programme, it has dropped its support amid a furious backlash over the prince’s interview on his friendship with sex offender Epstein, Sky News reports.
Prince Andrew (pictured during his interview with Emily Maitlis on the BBC’s Newsnight) is facing a furious backlash over his relationship with Epstein
Pictured: Prince Andrew addresses entrepreneurs and business leaders at a Pitch@Palace event in June last year at a KPMG-sponsored meeting
The Duke of York is pictured during a Pitch@Palace meeting last year. Accountants KPMG have not renewed their sponsorship of the scheme
Pictured, left, the Pitch@Palace website’s past listing of KPMG as a founding partner. Right, the page that awaits people now trying to view sponsors of the scheme
Sky’s royal correspondent, Rhiannon Mills, says the interview with Emily Maitlis ‘was meant to push aside the scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein – instead it seems that it is going to have an adverse effect on some of the work he was hoping to focus on’.
Charities and schools linked to Prince Andrew were also in disarray today as they distanced themselves from the under-fire royal.
Children North East and The Children’s Foundation, both charities Andrew lists on his official website, refused to tell MailOnline if he will keep his official role supporting them in light of the Epstein scandal.
The Council of British International Schools [COBIS] praised the duke’s work with them since 2011 but also refused to say if their link with the prince remains today.
Prince Andrew (pictured at a Huddersfield University graduation ceremony) is facing a backlash following his interview on the BBC
Youth development charity Power2 said their position is ‘unchanged’ but added: ‘We will continue to monitor the situation closely’.
Only the University of Huddersfield, who chose Andrew as Chancellor in 2015, has full thrown its weight behind him as he was engulfed by scandal this weekend.
The Duke of York’s reputation has been badly damaged by the car crash BBC interview about his friendship with the American paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and claims he had sex with one of his slaves.
Charities and organisations supported by Prince Andrew
British Deaf Association
Children North East
Council of British International Schools
English National Ballet
Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel Trust
London Metropolitan University
Marine Society and Sea Cadets
Royal Air Force Lossiemouth
Royal British Legion Scotland, Inverness Branch
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Children’s Foundation
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund
Andrew supports dozens of charitable organisations in both the UK and abroad but several linked to children refused to comment on their links to the under fire royal.
Children North East and The Children’s Foundation, both charities Andrew has backed, refused to say if he remains a patron today
The Council of British International Schools [COBIS] praised the duke’s work with them since 2011 but refused to say if their link with the prince remains today.
Andrew became Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield in 2015, but students and locals are urging bosses to remove his title.
Debbie Lynch tweeted: ‘Huddersfield University need to drop him immediately.’
Ian Bagshaw wrote: ‘The man is just too damn honourable, his words, not mine. Why is this man still associated with the university?’
But the uni has firmly thrown its weight behind Prince Andrew in the wake of allegations that he had sex with a teenage girl.
A spokesman said: ‘HRH, The Duke of York, has long ties with the University stretching back to his first visit in 2001.
‘His enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship is a natural fit with the work of the University and every year the University of Huddersfield organises The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Awards , which are promoted across universities throughout the north of England.
‘In relation to the allegations, The Palace has previously issued an emphatic denial and this was reiterated in the BBC interview with The Duke of York and we have nothing further to add.’
Prince Andrew, pictured during his interview with Emily Maitlis, is under increasing pressure after a BBC interview he hoped would have the opposite effect
The Duke of York replaced Sir Patrick Stewart as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield in 2015 and the university is one of the few organisations to publicly back him after his BBC disaster
In August Britain’s largest children’s charity, the NSPCC, distanced itself from Prince Andrew.
It faced mounting criticism from members of the public who complained that the Royal Family’s website listed Prince Andrew as a patron of one of the charity’s campaigns.
They questioned the association of a charity that works to protect vulnerable children with the Prince in the wake of the renewed focus on his close friendship with convicted paedophile Epstein.
The Royals’ website states that the 59-year-old Duke is the ‘patron’ of an NSPCC ‘campaign aiming to end cruelty to children and to raise £250 million to that end’.
But the NSPCC was forced to respond to a barrage of criticism on social media by clarifying that its ties with Andrew ended a decade ago, saying: ‘Prince Andrew is no longer our patron, he supported our Full Stop campaign which ended in 2009.’