21 Nov 2019

Prince Andrew to step down from public duties

8:16 am on 21 November 2019

Britain's Prince Andrew said on Wednesday he has asked to step down from public duties for the forseeable future after being engulfed in a growing scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein.

Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves after speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok on November 3, 2019, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

Prince Andrew (file photo) Photo: AFP

"Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required," Prince Andrew said in a statement issued by Buckingham Palace.

Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son, denies an allegation that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured for him by his friend Epstein, the financier who killed himself in a US prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

The scandal has escalated since Prince Andrew's rambling explanations in a disastrous TV interview aired on Saturday left many viewers incredulous, and his apparent lack of compassion for Epstein's victims drew widespread condemnation.

In the statement issued by Buckingham Palace, Prince Andrew said the scrutiny had become a "major disruption" to the work of the royal family and the charities associated with him.

Prince Andrew has been facing intense criticism following the interview, which has been branded a PR disaster.

People close to Prince Andrew said he wanted to address the issues relating to the fall-out over Epstein head-on and did so with "honesty and humility" in speaking to BBC Newsnight for the interview.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's accusers, claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince three times. The prince said he was at home with his children on one of the occasions.

- Reuters / RNZ

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