Prince Andrew allegedly intends to make a comeback to public life after clearing his name in court, but his brother Charles wants him to retire permanently, the Daily Mail reported citing its sources. The newspaper cited the royal source as saying that the Duke of York wants to repair his image by speaking to the FBI about rape allegations made against him and his ties with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in a New York prison while awaiting trial on charges of running a sex trafficking network. A friend of the Duke of York told the Daily Mail that the prince was “naively positive” that he could survive the scandal.
The newspaper, however, cited another royal source that said the Duke’s plans raised eyebrows in Buckingham Palace as many think, including his brother, Prince Charles, that Andrew can never regain the public's trust. "I can’t see that Charles would ever let it happen. And many at the Palace just want him out of the scene now – end of. It’s effectively an early retirement", the source said.
Resignation and Rift with Family Members
On 20 November, the royal announced that he would step down from public duties for the "foreseeable future", because his association with sex offender Epstein had beocme a “major disruption” to the royal family. Rumours emerged that Prince Charles was responsible for "sacking" his brother and doesn’t want him to return to public life following controversial statements he made during a BBC interview.
Major companies and banks, including British Telecom and Barclays, have distanced themselves from the prince and withdrawn from his Pitch@Palace project, In addition, a number of charities have also ditched him as their patron.
Queen Elizabeth II cancelled planned celebrations for the Duke’s 60th birthday, which will reportedly be replaced with a small family dinner. However, the Queen was recently seen riding with Prince Andrew, said to be her favourite son, in a move that is thought to be a sign of support.
What did Prince Andrew Say in the BBC Interview?
The Duke of York strongly denied he had sexual intercourse with underage Virginia Roberts in 2001, who claims she was forced to have sex with the royal three times. Prince Andrew said the day the sexual intercourse allegedly happened was one he had spent with his daughter at Pizza Express restaurant and noted he didn’t remember meeting the lady.
Commenting on the picture that depicts the Duke and Virginia Roberts, at that time Virginia Giuffre, with the prince’s hand on the girl’s waist, Andrew said: “Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don't recollect that photograph ever being taken".
Answering questions about his ties with the disgraced billionaire, Andrew said it was a mistake to have seen Epstein after he was convicted of soliciting prostitution and was ordered to register as sex offender, but said he did that to tell the financier that their friendship was over. "I felt that doing it over the telephone was the chicken's way of doing it", the royal said.
The Duke of York didn’t say he regretted befriending Epstein and said knowing him had some "beneficial outcomes".
On 16 November, Prince Andrew gave an interview to the BBC after pressure mounted on the royal following the arrest of Epstein on charges of sexually trafficking minors.