In an explosive move, Prince Andrew has announced he is "stepping back" from royal duties amid growing backlash over his ties to disgraced billionaire paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein.

Public outrage reached fever pitch this week in the wake of his disastrous tell-all with the BBC – a "no holds barred" interview which he'd hoped would clear his name but instead did quite the opposite.

Prince Andrew, 59, offered baffling explanations as he denied claims made by Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, who has long insisted she was forced by Epstein to have sex with the royal when she was just 17 years old.

After days of "ongoing discussions" with senior members of his family – including the Queen and Prince Charles – about the fallout from the trainwreck interview, ITV reports that Prince Andrew finally conceded that the issue was not going away.


Prince Andrew steps down from public duties, with Queen's consent
Prince Andrew: Who pays for his lavish lifestyle?
'Royalty has failed': Claims Prince Andrew used racial slur as he faces calls to testify under oath following BBC interview
'Nothing short of dangerous': Prince Andrew's trainwreck interview sparks royal rift

In what was an undoubtedly tense conversation with the Queen on Wednesday, the decision was made that it was in the monarchy's best interests to remove him from the public eye until either the Epstein case was resolved or the Duke of York's name was cleared.

According to The Sun, a friend of Andrew's claimed he was "summoned" to Buckingham Palace by his mother.

Prince Andrew has been consulting with the Queen and his brother, Prince Charles. Photo / AP
Prince Andrew has been consulting with the Queen and his brother, Prince Charles. Photo / AP

"It was a devastating moment for both of them. His reputation is in tatters. It is unlikely he will ever perform royal duties again. He is disgraced," the source told the publication.

A separate source added that despite putting on a brave face, the Queen was "privately very disappointed" with her favourite son following his disastrous interview.

"She saw the fallout and was very unhappy. She has spent her whole life protecting the monarchy and in just one week her son's actions threatened to tear it apart.

"Something had to be done to draw a line under all of this."

The Sun also reports that the Queen's extraordinary intervention came following intense lobbying from Prince Charles, who is currently on a royal tour of New Zealand.


In the statement issued by the Palace, the Duke of York wrote: "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 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."

By taking that unprecedented step, it's clear the Queen's son is hoping the furore dies down. Here's what will happen in the meantime:

Royal duties

The Duke of York currently holds more than 200 patronages, a number of which have been under review in recent days. His announcement means his involvement will be on hold – and probably for quite some time.

Prince Andrew at Bond University on the Gold Coast for Pitch@Palace in 2018. Photo / Supplied
Prince Andrew at Bond University on the Gold Coast for Pitch@Palace in 2018. Photo / Supplied

Meanwhile, according to ITV, the Palace is now working out how to manage his projects, including the popular Pitch at Palace – which helps entrepreneurs connect with investors – without seeing them fold completely.

Prince Andrew himself will no longer be personally involved in any of these initiatives.

Basically, he's suddenly got a fair bit of free time on his hands.

And while he won't be working as a royal for the "foreseeable future", it's unlikely he'll be stripped of his title or lose his place as number eight in the line of succession to the throne.


Prince Andrew has traditionally been paid from both the Sovereign Grant, which is a pot of public money that helps fund the work the royals do on behalf of the United Kingdom - and the Privy Purse, which is the Queen's income from the Duchy of Lancaster.

As he will no longer be partaking in royal work, Prince Andrew's access to the Sovereign Grant will now be cut off. He'll have to fund himself from his private income and the Queen's personal coffers.

But it's unlikely to disrupt his lifestyle too significantly – according to The Sun, Prince Andrew has a net worth of around £57 million ($A108 million).

Meanwhile, it has not yet been made clear what will happen with his office and personal staff.

Unequivocal regret

One of the most surprising elements of Prince Andrew's statement was his expression of regret over his close friendship with Epstein.

He was widely condemned in the wake of the BBC interview for failing to offer sympathy to Epstein's victims or remorse over his links to the paedophile.

The Duke of York's interview has become a PR nightmare for the royals. Photo / BBC
The Duke of York's interview has become a PR nightmare for the royals. Photo / BBC

Prince Andrew addressed both matters in his statement on Wednesday.

"I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey 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."