The archbishop of Canterbury, who leads the Church of England, has spoken up about the sex scandal that Queen Elizabeth’s son Prince Andrew has been embroiled in. Asked about the royal’s involvement in Jeffrey Epstein’s affair, the Most Rev. Justin Welby told The Big Issue that one should not ask royals to be “superhuman saints” and praised the monarchy as a “gift” to the country, as he put it.
“I think generally speaking they do serve in a way that is extraordinary in what is literally, for them, a life sentence. I think to ask that they be superhuman saints is not what we should do because nobody is like that. Everybody makes mistakes, everybody is human. I am not commenting on any member of the royal family except to say that I am astonished at what a gift they are to this country", the cleric noted.
Epstein’s Royal Bait?
The archbishop’s interview comes hot on the heels of new allegations concerning the Duke of York’s involvement in his late friend Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged criminal affairs. One of the disgraced financier’s accusers, who claims that he raped her at his New Mexico ranch in 2004 when she was 15, also revealed that Epstein used Prince Andrew as “bait” to lure the teenager to his Caribbean island. The allegations were made public in a letter from so-called Jane Doe 15’s lawyer Gloria Allred to the royal family.
“In trying to persuade her [to go to the island], Mr Epstein’s representative conveyed to Jane Doe 15 that Mr Epstein was close to you, that you would be among the guests and that she would have an opportunity to meet you. Your prestige and reputation were directly touted in his attempts to engage in further harm”, the attorney said, as cited by The Sunday Times of London.
According to her, to present himself as having connections to the world’s most powerful people was “a central element of [Epstein’s] predatory behaviour”. However, the royal’s representatives have declined to comment.
Prince Andrew has repeatedly rejected the allegations and even sat down with the BBC last month in an attempt at damage control. However, the interview turned into yet another disaster, as he said, in particular, that he did not regret befriending convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in a New York jail in August while awaiting trial on charges of running a sex trafficking network.
Major companies and banks, including British Telecom and Barclays, have distanced themselves from Prince Andrew and withdrawn from his Pitch@Palace project. In addition, a number of charities have also ditched him as their patron.
Adding insult to injury, Queen Elizabeth II recently prohibited the embattled prince from meeting US President Donald Trump during his visit to the UK in early December.