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Prince Andrew to 'step back from public duties for the ...

Prince Andrew is stepping back from public duties "for the foreseeable future", following the fallout from aninterview about his friendship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

In his statement, 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.

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

The Duke 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."

The statement from the Palace
Prince Andrew asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future Credit: Royal Communications

The Prince had been under increasing pressure toresign his patronages and leadership roles with BT the latest company topull out of an entrepreneurship schemeset up by the Duke.

Finance giantsKPMG and Standard Chartered had already announced that they would not be renewing their sponsorship of another entrepreneurial scheme run by the Duke called Pitch@Palace.

One sponsor told the Telegraph:“It is the sponsors’ view that the programme itself can survive with a new patron, but only with a new patron.”

The Duke of York's grilling by Newsnight's Emily Maitlis on Saturday night continues to generateshock waves onboth sides of the Atlantic.

The British royal is nowfacing renewed calls to tell US prosecutors about his friendship withEpstein, who died in prison where he was awaiting a sex trafficking trial.

Prince Andrew denies allegations that he had sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre and said he could not recall meeting her at all.

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