The Queen has given permission for Prince Andrew to "step back from public duties for the foreseeable future" amid criticism over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, it has been confirmed. In a statement released by Buckingham Palace, the Duke of York said: "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 organisations and charities that I am proud to support.
The Queen has been fully "supportive" of Prince Andrew's decision
"Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission." He added: "I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. 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. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."
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A royal source has since confirmed to HELLO! that the Queen had been fully consulted and is "supportive" of the Duke's decision. Pressure has been mounting in recent days over the royal role of the Queen's second son after his high-profile interview about his links with the disgraced financier.
READ: Sarah Ferguson shares emotional message in support of Prince Andrew
The Duke of York is now taking a step back from royal duties
The news comes shortly after Prince Andrew gave an interview with BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis. The 59-year-old spoke about his links with the convicted sex offender, and "categorically" denied having any sexual contact with American woman Virginia Giuffre, one of Jeffrey's accusers, who was aged 17 at the time. The royal told Emily: "It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."
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