What Does Prince Andrew's Decision to 'Step Back' from Royal Duties Mean for the Royal Family?
"I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission," Prince Andrew announced Wednesday
Queen Elizabeth‘s third child released a statement on Wednesday announcing his decision to halt his royal work following his bombshell interview with the BBC about his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
“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,” he said in the 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.”
While Prince Andrew will not perform any more public duties as a member of the royal family, not much else will change at this time.
“He remains a member of the royal family,” a royal source says. “As a royal colonel and a war veteran, you can expect to see him at Remembrance Sunday. You can expect to see him on the balcony at Trooping the Colour too.”
His decision to no longer perform public duties as a member of the royal family takes him out of the firing line and he will be hoping that it helps dampen the furor over his links with Epstein. It remains to be seen if it will stop some of the organizations that he has been associated with from continuing to cut their ties with him.
The 59-year-old royal will likely retain his title as the Duke of York and keep his place in the line of succession to the throne, which is currently eighth behind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s 6-month-old son, Archie. Many family members in the line of succession are not “working” royals, such as Princess Anne’s children Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall.
Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, also do not have official roles within the monarchy despite having causes that they champion. Their positions will not be affected by Andrew’s decision to withdraw from a public work life.
Prince Andrew currently resides at the Royal Lodge in Windsor and will continue to live there. The property was previously the private residence of the Queen Mother for over 70 years, before being gifted to Prince Andrew in 2003 by the Queen.
As for funds, money for working royals comes directly from the Queen’s private income from the Duchy of Lancaster, which pays for the Privy Purse. It’s unclear what will happen in the longterm, but Prince Andrew will likely continue to receive funds from his mother for the time being.
“In terms of Sovereign Grant and taxpayers’ money — he doesn’t receive any money from that and the only funding he would have gotten from that would have been for travel for public duties,” the source continues. “If he is stepping back from public duties, then there wont be anything coming from there.”
Since the interview aired on Saturday night in the U.K., the Queen’s second son has been widely criticized for not showing empathy for the victims of Epstein — who died by suicide in jail in New York City in August while awaiting trial on multiple sex charges — and for his decision to stay with at the financier’s New York home in December 2010. That came just months after Epstein had served 13 months of an 18 month sentence for procuring a minor for prostitution.
Andrew also said he had “no recollection of ever meeting” Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who alleges she was forced to have sex with the royal three times between 1999 and 2002 in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein when she was 17 years old.
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Prince Andrew initially believed that his controversial interview went “quite well.” On Sunday, Andrew accompanied his mother Queen Elizabeth, 93, to church at Windsor and is reported to have told her that he thought the interview was a success. Buckingham Palace won’t confirm conversations between members of the family, but say that she was “aware” of the interview.
According to sources, he spoke with the Queen and Prince Charles over the past few days, and he met with the Queen on Wednesday, before the announcement was made.
“It was a personal decision,” the source says. “He discussed it with the Queen and the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family and they support his decision.”