Prince Andrew is stepping away from his royal duties only days after his controversial interview on the BBC.
The Duke of York released a statement Wednesday saying that he asked his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, for permission to step back from his public duties for the foreseeable future, due to the increasing scrutiny surrounding his link with the late Jeffrey Epstein.
“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 organizations and charities that I am proud to support,” the statement reads.
The intense scrutiny of Prince Andrew increased over the weekend after a cringeworthy interview with BBC’s “Newsnight” went viral, during which the royal denied having any knowledge of Epstein’s alleged child sex trafficking operation and the activities going on at Epstein’s many homes.
He also stated during the interview that he has no memory of meeting Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has alleged that she had sex with the royal multiple times because of Epstein.
A photograph of Giuffre and Prince Andrew has circulated online since charges were filed against Epstein over the summer. However, the royal claimed during the interview that he didn’t know how the picture came into existence considering he was picking up daughter Princess Beatrice from a pizza party that night.
Prince Andrew has already experienced setbacks from the interview. On Monday KPMG ended its sponsorship of the royal’s entrepreneurship initiative, Pitch@Palace, according to BBC. The Financial Times also reported Monday that many other firms that supported the prince’s charities were either not renewing their support or reevaluating it.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” Prince Andrew’s 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.”
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