Prince Andrew made headlines late last year when he publicly addressed his relationship with the late multimillionaire businessman and registered sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein was accused of having sex with girls as young as 14 and was imprisoned without bail in July 2019. He was later found in his cell the following month in an apparent suicide.
In Novemember, the Duke of York agreed to a one-hour interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, aired from Buckingham Palace, to address the allegations. However, it was branded a ‘car crash’ and as a result, he was forced to step down from royal duties and his Buckingham Palace office.
In a statement, Andrew said: ‘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.’
While the royals have been fairly quiet about the situation, his eldest daughter, Princess Beatrice, cancelled her engagement party in the wake of the scandal, and he didn’t attend when she rearranged the event.
Earlier this year, Attorney Geoffrey Berman claimed that Andrew was contacted by law officials and the FBI regarding an interview, but he has not responded.
During a recent news conference, Berman said: ‘To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation.’
The BBC reported that Buckingham Palace would not be making any comments, however they did claim that Andrew’s lawyers were in contact with US authorities.
Prince Andrew’s legal team responded this week for the first time, claiming the reports were ‘inaccurate’.
‘The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the US Department of Justice’, read the statement from Prince Andrew’s lawyers.
Mr Berman was quick to issue a statement however, claiming the opposite.
‘Today, Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to co-operate with an ongoing federal criminal investigation into sex trafficking and related offences committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates,’ the statement read. It went on to claim that the Royal ‘has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview, and nearly four months ago informed us unequivocally – through the very same counsel who issued today’s release – that he would not come in for such an interview’.
Mr Berman’s statement concluded: ‘If Prince Andrew is, in fact, serious about co-operating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open, and we await word of when we should expect him.’
Prince Andrew’s lawyers have reportedly declined to comment further.