After a universally derided television interview and subsequent abandonment by big sponsors and charities, HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is stepping down from his royal duties “for the foreseeable future.”
He said the whole Epstein mess has become a “major distraction” for the Royal
Gee, ya think?
In a statement from the prince, according to the BBC, he said "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 sympathize 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."
He added that he was "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said the move was "a big step" and was "pretty much without precedent in modern times.”
He said it showed a realization that the interview had "upset a lot of people," adding: "It was more than just bad publicity for Prince Andrew, it was clearly damaging the wider institution of the Royal Family."
While the move may be unprecedented, it may not be surprising to some. Yesterday, it was reported “the palace is bracing itself for more revelations after the Mirror revealed that (accuser) Virginia Guiffre recorded an interview with BBC Panorama three weeks ago.”
As a result, Dickie Arbiter, former communications secretary to the Queen, called for Andrew to “step away” immediately.
He said: “The damage being done is enormous and could end up being catastrophic, not only for the Royal Family but for the many charities he is involved with. The best thing for him to do is take an immediate sabbatical.”
You can watch some high(low?)-lights of the prince’s interview here.
This isn’t the first “uncomfortable moment for the Duke of York or his family.
In 1986, “Randy Andy” (as he was nicknamed in his youth) married Sarah Ferguson, a “commoner.” By 1991, their marriage was in trouble, and in 1992 they announced their separation. Five months later, photos were published of a topless Ferguson in St. Tropez having her toes kissed (and/or sucked) by Texas millionaire John Bryan.
1992 was also the year Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated, after publication of the Princess’s tell-all book Diana: Her True Story. And it was the year the divorce of Prince Andrew’s older sister, Princess Anne, became final. All of which prompted Queen Elizabeth to famously say in her Christmas speech “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.”
Oh, and one other thing...Prince Andrew's daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, were age 13 and 11 respectively in 2001 when he was pictured with a then-17-year-old Guiffre.
This looks to be yet another year when the reputation of the Royal Family takes it up the “annus horribilis.”
Nothing against the Queen, but if the Duke of York did indeed knowingly have sex with underage girls — a man with two daughters of his own — justice must be served.