Prince Andrew 'to permanently retire from royal life' after Epstein scandal
Prince Andrew is set to retire from royal life permanently due to his links with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, it has been reported.
The Duke of York, 60, stepped back from public life in November 2019 after opening up about his friendship with Epstein during a car-crash interview with Newsnight. Sources now claim the Queen ‘can’t see a way back’ for her son, The Sunday Times reports.
Andrew, who is father to princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, had reportedly been hoping to make a return, but the source described his presence as ‘toxic’. The Royal Family now have ‘no plans to review’ his position, the publication said.
He could now be under pressure to give up his military commands, including his role as colonel of the Grenadier Guards, which he retained despite no longer carrying out public duties.
The Duke is currently also embroiled in a legal dispute alongside ex-wife Sarah Ferguson over debt for their £18,000,000 Verbier ski chalet. Isabelle de Rouvre sold the coupe the chalet in 2014, but claims they still owe her £6,000,000.
According to US magazine Air Mail, the Queen is assisting Andrew in paying off the debt, but Buckingham Palace are yet to comment on the matter publicly.
Andrew withdrew from royal duties last year after speaking publicly about his friendship with Epstein and allegations that Virginia Giuffre was made to have sex with him when she was 17.
The Duke has continuously denied any involvement with Ms Giuffre, who is one of the 16 women who say they were abused by Epstein.
During an interview with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, he said he had ‘no recollection’ of meeting Ms Giuffre and claimed he was at a Pizza Express in Woking on one of the days she says they had sex.
He added he would step back from official duties, admitting that ‘the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work’.
Epstein was found dead in his prison cell in August last year while awaiting trial for child sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled as suicide.
He had previously been convicted and jailed for procuring an underage girl for prostitution and soliciting a prostitute in 2008.
In a statement, Andrew previously said he continued to ‘unequivocally regret’ his ‘ill-timed’ association with the financier. He continued: ‘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.’
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