Prince Andrew 'urged to quit' as patron of English National Ballet amid interview fallout

20 November 2019, 12:38

The Prince has faced a huge fallout after his interview with Emily Maitlis
The Prince has faced a huge fallout after his interview with Emily Maitlis. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Senior figures at the English National Ballet are allegedly calling for Prince Andrew to be removed as patron after his car-crash BBC interview.

The Duke of York has faced a huge fallout after his interview with Emily Maitlis, which was aired on Saturday, and discussed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew was accused of showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein's victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with the disgraced financier, who took his own life while imprisoned earlier this year.

In the Newsnight interview, the duke also denied claims he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was under age.

According to The Times, there is now “real concern” among trustees and staff at the English National Ballet that association with the Prince could harm the organisation’s standing.

Prince Andrew was heavily criticised following his interview on Newsnight
Prince Andrew was heavily criticised following his interview on Newsnight. Picture: BBC

A source told the paper: “Everyone is hoping that it can be resolved without requiring collective discussion.

“But at some point it will require that discussion if he does not stand down. The trouble is he has a thick skin and I am sure he would be reluctant to.”

A growing number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities have distanced themselves from Andrew in the wake of his interview.

The Prince is involved with more than 200 charities, 24 of which are concerned with children and young people.

Telecoms giant BT called for Andrew to be removed as patron of iDEA - The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award - a programme which helps develop digital enterprise and employability skills.

London Metropolitan University said it would consider the duke's role as its patron, while a student panel at Huddersfield University passed a motion to lobby Andrew to resign as its chancellor.

Asian-focused bank Standard Chartered has joined KPMG in deciding not to renew its sponsorship of the Pitch@Palace scheme – an entrepreneurial programme established by the Prince.

AstraZeneca's three-year partnership with the scheme is due to expire at the end of this year and is being reviewed, and Outward Bound Trust, of which Andrew is patron, is to hold a board meeting in the next few days to discuss the matter.

Murdoch University in Perth has ended its relationship with the tech initiative’s Australian arm, joining Bond University and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) who have also terminated their association, while the University of Wollongong (UoW) is reviewing its support.

The English National Ballet have been contacted for a comment.