Commemorative plaques unveiled by Prince Andrew are being ripped off walls by organisations, as they seek to distance themselves from the embattled Royal, amid continuing fallout from the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal, reports The Mail on Sunday.
Rotherham University recently opted to ditch a plaque unveiled by the Duke in June when he marked the opening of its new Doncaster Gate campus, as it also removed photographs of the visit.
A spokesman was quoted as saying:
“In light of the allegations raised, the executive leadership team took the decision to remove the plaque within days of the [Newsnight] interview last month and it has been taken down, along with photos of the visit.”
The University of the West England has adopted a similar stance, taking down two plaques installed to commemorate visits by prince Andrew to open new campuses in July 2017 and March 2018, with a spokesman explaining the decision was adopted “in light of recent events”.
In Scotland, a commemorative plaque unveiled at the Highland Hospice in Inverness in December 2016 by Prince Andrew, Earl of Inverness, during the opening of a new inpatient unit has also been removed.
A patient is quoted as approving the decision, saying:
“The Highland Hospice has quite rightly chosen to disassociate itself from Prince Andrew. I’m very impressed they’ve taken a stance.”
An online petition calling for the Queen to strip Andrew of his Earl of Inverness title has so far attracted 1,463 signatures.
In Canada, it was reported that Prince Andrew High School in Nova Scotia is considering changing its name.
Principal Brad McGowan said:
“We‘ve had inquiries about the appropriateness of the name, so I think it’s my responsibility to ask 'Does this name continue to reflect the community?'”
Earlier, it had emerged that Prince Andrew’s flagship project Pitch@Palace CIC was being shut down in the UK in the fallout from the Epstein scandal.
While the non-profit company is controlled by the Prince Andrew Charitable Trust, the overseas arm of Pitch@Palace Global is owned by the Duke himself and was set up to broker deals between tech start-ups and wealthy investors.
Three directors of Pitch@Palace Global, its overseas arm, were reported by Sky News to have told Prince Andrew they will quit unless he agrees to relinquish control.
The Toxic Sex Scandal
Late last month, the embattled Prince Andrew was ordered to step down from his royal duties by the Queen after giving a “car crash” interview to the BBC where he dismally failed to clear his name after becoming embroiled in a scandal centred around now-deceased paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
The Duke of York is facing accusations from alleged Epstein sex trafficking victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims she was ordered by to have sex with him in 2001.
Giuffre, now 35, claims she was recruited by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, a close associate of the financier, and told she would have to do for Prince Andrew what she had done for Epstein, meaning she would have to have sex with him.
Prince Andrew has been insisting he has no recollection of ever meeting Guiffre, claiming he was at home with his daughters on the night that his accuser says she was forced to have sex with him, while a statement from Buckingham Palace said:
“It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
Convicted sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein had been under investigation for nearly two decades at the time of his death in custody earlier this year. Epstein had pleaded not guilty to all charges but faced up to 45 years in prison had he been convicted.
The death was officially ruled a suicide but gave rise to speculations of foul play.