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Prince Andrew to 'step back from public duties' over Epstein relationship

Under pressure: the Duke of York being interviewed on Newsnight
Under pressure: the Duke of York being interviewed on Newsnight

The Duke of York will step back from public duties for the "foreseeable future" amid widespread criticism over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

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.

Firms including telecoms giant BT and bank Barclays are among a number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities which have distanced themselves from Andrew in the wake of the BBC interview.

In a statement, 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.

"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."

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