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Prince Andrew pictured for the first time after stepping down from royal duties

Buckingham Palace released a statement on Wednesday night

prince andrew wave
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The Duke of York has been pictured leaving his Windsor home for the first time, following the announcement that he has stepped down from royal duties. The 59-year-old royal waved from behind the wheel of his car as he left Royal Lodge, less than 24 hours after Buckingham Palace released a statement concerning his future role.

Prince Andrew 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. Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission."

READ: Prince Andrew steps down: what does this mean now for the Queen's son?

WATCH: Prince Andrew's Newsnight interview

The Duke's statement follows his interview with BBC Newsnight, which aired on Saturday and focused on his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

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."

MORE: Princess Beatrice celebrates fiance's birthday amid Prince Andrew drama

prince andrew car1© Photo: PA

Andrew waves from his car as he leaves his Windsor home

The Duke met the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday afternoon and also consulted his brother, the Prince of Wales – who is currently on a tour of New Zealand – before announcing his decision. It was business as usual for the 93-year-old monarch as she presented Sir David Attenborough with the Chatham House Prize for his work to highlight ocean plastic pollution, just hours after her son's statement.

Andrew, who is eighth-in-line to the throne, is patron of more than 200 charities and organisations and following his decision to step back, these patronages are being "mothballed" - he is temporarily stepping back from them and the charities will decide whether they want him to continue in the role.

The Queen's second son will also no longer be supported by the publicly-funded Sovereign Grant, which until now has covered his official travel costs. He will continue to fund himself and his private office from an allowance from the Queen's private Duchy of Lancaster income.

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