Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020

Prince Andrew 'planning return to royal duties' after Epstein scandal

Prince Andrew is planning his return to royal duties almost a year after he stepped down following the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, it has been reported.

The Duke of York, 60, withdrew from royal duties for the ‘foreseeable future’ last November as a result of his friendship with convicted paedophile Epstein. He now reportedly wants to ‘support the monarchy’ and is striving to find new role for himself among the family.

A source told The Times: ‘The Duke is spending time working out how he can serve his country and support the monarchy in the future, and what else he might want to do with his life.

‘He’s locked down at Royal Lodge, thinking about his future service and public role. He has some clear thoughts. He’s very sensitive to the public mood and acutely conscious that the public are the most important stakeholder.

‘He feels he has support from the family, very much so, including all his siblings and his parents.’

The Duke’s return to a public role would have to be agreed to by the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, palace officials and the government – and a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said there are ‘no plans to review’ his position.

A senior royal aide also stated that it was unlikely the Duke would return to an ‘official’ role.

They said: ‘There are family discussions about it. But while the hurdles around the Epstein case are still hanging over him, it will be difficult for him to represent the family in any capacity as his presence would overshadow the work of the monarchy.’

A royal source also noted that Andrew would struggle to ‘shed’ his links to Epstein going forward. They stated that they couldn’t see the Queen allowing him to return to a public role despite her ‘soft spot’ for him.

Andrew’s withdrawal from royal duties came after his disastrous Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, during which he denied having sex with an alleged victim of Epstein, Virginia Giuffre, when she was 17.

He also claimed he was physically unable to sweat and faced a backlash for seemingly failing to show empathy for Epstein’s victims or remorse for his friendship with the American financier.

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