Well that happened more quickly than I expected. Prince Andrew announced this afternoon that he is stepping down from royal duties.
In a statement Buckingham Palace dropped at 1pm US ET/6pm GMT, the Duke of York said:
It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffery Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.
Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.
I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffery Epstein. 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 investigations, if required.royal.uk
His statement comes after days of charities distancing themselves from him and businesses pulling out of supporting his Pitch@Palace initiative. One business even said explicitly that they would not continue support of iDEA, another one of Andrew’s charity initiatives, if he didn’t step down.
Andrew also became a topic during the British political debate the other night, when the two candidates were asked a question about the monarchy. Andrew’s scandal brought up the idea that the monarchy needs a revamp.
I said previously that Andrew needed to step down to save face for the royal family, but I didn’t think that would happen until Prince Charles was back in the country because The Queen can’t or refuses to handle Andrew properly, and she has failed to for years.
The line “has become a major disruption to my family’s work” makes me think Charles put in a call because Andrew’s interview has completely overshadowed Charles’ current tour. I think there is no way that Andrew took this step himself, and Charles and/or HM’s staff stepped in to force Andrew’s hand. I actually think the fact that whether the monarchy needs some form of update being brought up during the political debate was probably a big point, too. The royals really don’t want that question to gain traction.
While quicker than I expected, this is the correct step for Andrew. I hope we never have to see him again as a representative of the monarchy.
PS. Today marks the 72nd anniversary of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The two spent today apart, and apparently haven’t seen each other since September, and now HM’s favorite son had to step down. What an anniversary.