The Queen ‘backs Prince Andrew 100 per cent’ as KPMG ends sponsorship

18 November 2019, 22:06

Prince Andrew interviewed on Newsnight.
Prince Andrew interviewed on Newsnight. Picture: PA

The Queen has reportedly given her backing ‘100 per cent’ to Prince Andrew following an interview in which answered a series of questions over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The Queen and other senior royals are said to "back and believe" Andrew's defence of himself "100%", according to the Evening Standard.

Accountancy firm KPMG today announced it has not renewed its sponsorship of Prince Andrew’s Dragon’s Den-style entrepreneurial initiative Pitch@Palace, saying it "made the decision following adverse press scrutiny around Prince Andrew."

The accountancy firm is thought to have made the decision at the end of October.

The Outward Bound Trust, which the duke supports as patron, said it will hold a board meeting in the next few days when members will discuss issues raised by Saturday's interview.

The termly student jury at Huddersfield University, where Andrew is chancellor, has voted on a motion to lobby the duke to resign - the result of the ballot will be published in the next few days.

Andrew is facing growing calls to give a formal statement to American authorities examining the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal following his television interview.

His appearance on Newsnight to explain his friendship with the convicted sex offender and deny allegations of having sex with an under-age teenager has been widely condemned, but the duke is said to be standing by his decision to put forward his side of the story.

Andrew was caught up in further controversy today when a newspaper columnist claimed he used a racially-offensive word during a Buckingham Palace meeting in 2012.

The royal has been accused of using the phrase "n***** in the woodpile" during the discussion with a former adviser to David Cameron.

The fall-out from the interview has already begun with the Outward Bound Trust, which the duke supports as patron, saying it will hold a board meeting in the next few days when members will discuss the issues raised by Saturday's interview.

The termly student jury at Huddersfield University, where Andrew is chancellor, has voted on a motion to lobby the duke to resign - the result of the ballot will be published in the next few days.

US lawyer Spencer Kuvin, who represents a woman who claims she was a victim of Epstein, told Radio 4's Today programme Andrew should come forward to help the ongoing investigation into the disgraced American financier.

Mr Kuvin said: "As a lawyer, I was rather shocked that he would go on camera like this because anything he says can be utilised in a cross-examination of him later, should he choose to come forward, and actually, in an official capacity, allow himself to be interviewed by the US authorities - which I believe he should."

Boris Johnson was asked if he would encourage Andrew to co-operate with the US but he brushed the question aside, during an election campaign event at the CBI annual conference, saying "nice try there".

Saturday's interview has been widely criticised, with commentators questioning Andrew's responses and condemning his unsympathetic tone and seeming lack of remorse over the friendship with Epstein.

The Evening Standard published on its front page the claim made by its columnist Rohan Silva, that while a Downing Street aide specialising in the tech economy the duke made a racist remark.

He told the newspaper when he asked Andrew if the government department responsible for trade "could be doing a better job", the duke replied: "Well, If you'll pardon the expression, that really is the n***** in the woodpile."

Sources have categorically denied Andrew used the word, saying "the duke did not say that".

Gloria Allred, a lawyer representing other alleged victims in the Epstein case, questions what the duke knew about Epstein's actions during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.

She said: "I don't see how he could have not known that there were underage girls - minors. Because he did visit homes of Mr Epstein in New York, in Palm Beach, in the Virgin Islands; and I happen to know there were underage girls in all of those locations.

During the Newsnight interview, Andrew, questioned by presenter Emily Maitlis, twice stated his relationship with Epstein, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, gave him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.

The duke denied he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking.

The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong as the duke said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.

He expressed regret at making contact with Epstein in 2010 - flying to New York to say in person the friendship was over - after the 66-year-old had been released from an 18-month prison term for prostituting minors.

But Maitlis highlighted how he spent a number of days with him at his home, and how he was guest of honour at a dinner party she said celebrated Epstein's release.

Additional reporting by PA

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