Prince Andrew is taking a break. The queen’s third child and the eighth in line to the throne announced in a statement today that he will “step back from royal duties for the foreseeable future”—it’s a move that was approved by the sovereign. The message was shared on the royal family’s official social media profiles.
The news comes just days after the Duke of York sat down with the BBC to address his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking this summer before he died in jail. In the interview, the duke also denied accusations that he had a sexual encounter with a woman named Virginia Roberts Giuffre when she was just 17 years old.
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“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support,” Andrew said in his statement.
“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission,” he continued.
If Andrew’s intention with the interview was to put the troubling accusations to rest, that is far from what was achieved. Following the broadcast, Andrew’s rebuttals were criticized as a “train wreck” and a “PR disaster.”
His corporate sponsors and partners, such as Cisco Systems and accounting firm KPMG, have cut ties with the duke this year, USA Today reported. Lizzie Robinson of ITV reported that Barclays bank, which sponsors the Duke of York’s Pitch@Palace program, is “concerned about the current situation” and that its position on the initiative is “under review.”
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” Andrew continued in his message. “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise 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. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigation, if required.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar US.