The Duke of York faces losing his round-the-clock armed police protection, according to reports. The Evening Standard said the Home Office is recommending a major downgrade of security for the Queen's second son after a Scotland Yard review. The newspaper said the final decision lies with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In response to the reports, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "As a matter of course we do not comment on security or security arrangements."
Prince Andrew, who turns 60 next month, stepped down from royal duties in November, following his TV interview with BBC Newsnight, which focused on his connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Buckingham Palace released a statement from the Duke just days after the high-profile interview. 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."
Andrew and Charles on Christmas Day
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."
Andrew was last pictured attending an early morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas Day, with his older brother Prince Charles. The rest of the royal family joined the Queen for the main mid-morning service, greeting members of the public as they made their way to church.
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