Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Prince Andrew faces uncertain future


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LONDON: Prince Andrew is scaling back travel and facing an uncertain future as he steps away from the royal role he has embraced for his entire adult life.

The latest blow came Friday afternoon when the board of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra announced that it was cutting ties with Andrew, who had been its patron, and Barclays said it would no longer be involved with Andrew’s prized Pitch@Palace enterprise.

The 59-year-old prince has suffered numerous setbacks in the six days since the broadcast of a disastrous TV interview from Buckingham Palace during which he defended his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein, who was facing new sex crimes charges, died in a New York prison in August in what the New York City medical examiner ruled was a suicide.

The Times newspaper said in an editorial Friday that the debacle demonstrates the need for “urgent reform” of the royal household.

The paper urged Andrew’s older brother and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, to take steps to streamline and make the royal family “more modest.”

The disgraced prince scuttled plans for a trip to Bahrain that had been planned to support his Pitch@Palace project, according to the British news media, even though he is struggling to keep that enterprise going despite cutting ties to dozens of other charities.

Those hopes suffered a setback Friday evening when one of the charity’s official corporate sponsors said it would no longer participate “in light of the current situation.”

Andrew did go horseback riding with his mother, 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth 2nd, near Windsor Castle on Friday afternoon despite the harsh November weather. The monarch has not commented publicly on her son’s troubles.

There was a visceral public backlash to his TV interview — particularly because Andrew did not express sympathy for Epstein’s young female victims — that led leading British politicians to comment on the future of the monarchy in a televised debate ahead of the December 12 national election.

Shortly after the interview, Andrew announced that he was halting his royal duties “for the foreseeable future.”

Up until now, Andrew, the queen’s third child, had been able to skate away from troublesome questions about his private life and his extravagant lifestyle.

His association with Epstein had been known for more than eight years, but it only took him down after he went on TV to discuss it. AP



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