KPMG, one of the world’s ‘big four’ major accounting firms, has dropped its sponsorship of Pitch&Palace, a multi-million pound mentorship and networking scheme for entrepreneurs founded by Prince Andrew in 2014, amid the public scandal surrounding the Duke of York’s social life, Sky News has reported.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed that KPMG’s contract with Pitch&Palace “ended at the end of October,” but did not comment on the cause.
Separately, a spokesperson for Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca told Sky News that its own three year sponsorship with Pitch&Palace was “due to expire at the end of this year” and was “currently being reviewed.”
KPMG did not comment on why it moved not to drop its Pitch&Palace sponsorship.
In a separate development, Outward Bound Trust, an educational non-profit of outdoor education schools, confirmed that it too was reviewing the prince’s patronage in the charity, with a spokesperson saying the charity would hold a board meeting on the matter later this week. Prince Philip had passed the patronage of the charity to Prince Andrew after interviewing him for the job earlier this year.
Prince Andrew’s recent interview with BBC Newsnight, ostensibly aimed at clearing his name from association with convicted pedophile and sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, was met with a barrage of criticism, with legal representatives of Epstein’s accusers calling the interview “deeply disappointing,” while UK media grilled the prince over his unconvincing, often contradictory claims that he had no knowledge of Epstein’s “unbecoming” predatory behaviour, or any memory of his alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl at a house in London belonging to Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. In the interview, Andrew also played down his visit with Epstein at the latter’s New York home in 2010, after the Epstein was released from prison after serving 13 months in prison for the crime of trafficking a minor for prostitution.