Queen Elizabeth II sacks son from royal duties
In the wake of the interview the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, granted BBC Newsnight about his relationship with peadophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II has relieved his son of his royal duties.
The duke had on Wednesday evening issued a statement confirming he was, with his mother’s permission, ‘stepping down’ from public duties.
With this development the prince will lose his £249,000 annual income from the Sovereign Grant.
The TV interview triggered days of catastrophic headlines and caused a string of businesses and charities to desert him.
Following lengthy discussions with the Prince of Wales, who is touring New Zealand, the Queen summoned Andrew to Buckingham Palace and told him to step down.
The devastated prince, who is eighth in line to the throne, was told he could write his own statement in an attempt to allow him to bow out gracefully.
It is unprecedented for a senior royal to be asked to stand down in this way and illustrates how damaging Andrew’s BBC Newsnight interview was for himself, and the monarchy. The dramatic announcement came just as Andrew was trying to insist that it was business as usual.
On November 16, the prince gave a ‘disastrous’ BBC interview in which he spoke about his friendship with Epstein and addressed allegations of his own sexual conduct. He faced a barrage of criticism following his television appearance, with the royal accused of a lack of empathy with Epstein’s victims.
During the interview, Andrew, questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, twice stated his relationship with Epstein, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, had some ‘seriously beneficial outcomes’, giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.
The duke denied he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.
The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong as the duke said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat. He cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture that appears to show Andrew with his arm around the waist of Mrs Giuffre, when a teenager.