Earlier this week, Prince Andrew announced that he is stepping “back from public duties for the foreseeable future.”

By Simon Perry
November 22, 2019 12:48 PM
Advertisement
Prince Andrew
| Credit: Chris Jackson/- WPA Pool/Getty

Prince Andrew was forced to cancel a planned trip to Bahrain with his Pitch@Palace initiative as questions have been raised about whether he will still lead the organization, which helps budding entrepreneurs.

Andrew set up Pitch@Palace — an Apprentice-style contest that helps new and emerging businesses network — five years ago. But, as he “steps back” from his public work, he is looking at alternative ways to still be involved with the project.

Andrew’s canceled meeting, which was scheduled for Nov. 27 in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, comes amid claims that he is to sever his ties with the program, which has been one of his most high-profile public works in recent years.

Earlier this week, Andrew announced that he is stepping “back from public duties for the foreseeable future” in the wake of his shocking interview with the BBC about his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

On Friday, the Daily Telegraph reported he had stepped down from Pitch@Palace. “The series of events will now be known simply as ‘Pitch’ and will continue to be run by the Duke’s former private secretary Amanda Thirsk,” the outlet said.

Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein
| Credit: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images; Neil Rasmus/Patrick McMullan

Buckingham Palace did not confirm he had cut his ties to the organization, but said that going forward “he is looking at how to take Pitch forward outside of his public duties and Buckingham Palace.”

Can’t get enough of PEOPLE‘s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

However, there is an acknowledgment that things are in flux as the office tries to cope and switch to a different working situation. “We have always said there would be a period of transition,” the spokeswoman says.

Prince Andrew and the Queen
| Credit: Ben Cawthra/Sipa

Earlier on Friday, Andrew, 59, was spotted horseback riding with his mother Queen Elizabeth, with two escorts around the Windsor Castle estate. Both were bundled up in long coats, with the 93-year-old monarch covering up her head with a hood, while Andrew sported a helmet.