Prince Andrew has resigned as Chancellor of Huddersfield University with immediate effect today as the fallout continues to his BBC interview about his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The university had come under increasing pressure for The Duke of York to be replaced as its Chancellor, with members of the students union passing a motion yesterday calling on him to resign.
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A spokesman for the university said today that Prince Andrew, who was appointed for a five-year term as Chancellor in 2015, "has decided to step down immediately". Andrew, quit his life as a working royal "for the foreseeable future" on Wednesday evening. The decision has been welcomed by Huddersfield Students' Union, who said "students will welcome this decision".
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A statement from the university said: "HRH The Duke of York has announced he is stepping back from Royal duties for a period of time. Due to the circumstances and in discussion with the University, he has decided to step down immediately to allow the University to appoint a successor.
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"HRH The Duke of York was conferred as Chancellor of the University in 2015 for a period of five years and the University would like to thank The Duke for his work during his period as Chancellor.
"The Duke has informed the University that ‘he continues to unequivocally condemn Jeffrey Epstein’s activities and regrets his ill-judged association with him. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and he deeply sympathises with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure’.
"The University would also like to express our deep sympathy to all of those victims and families that have been affected and we do hope that they are getting the support they need.
"The process of appointing a new Chancellor will be initiated at the University Council meeting on November 27 with the aim of confirming the new appointment at the following Council meeting on March 19, 2020. The new Chancellor will be installed at the July 2020 Graduation ceremonies.
"As with previous Chancellor appointments, nominations will be sought from current and past students, staff and the wider Huddersfield community. The nominations will then be considered by a panel that includes student and staff representation and will be chaired by the Chair of the University Council who is independent of the University.
"The Student Voice is extremely important to the University and so the Students’ Union will coordinate the nominations process and the timings and mechanism of this will be announced next week, following the University Council meeting."
A statement from Huddersfield Students' Union said: "The Officer Team has had discussions with the Vice Chancellor of the University over the last two days, to take forward the motion “Lobby Prince Andrew to resign as University Chancellor”, as decided by the Student Panel on Monday. There was a plan in place to meet formally on November 25 to share an open letter written by the Officers, asking the University to take relevant steps, as actions taken by The Duke of York do not uphold the standards expected by our students.
"However, the recent announcement by the Palace, that The Duke would take a step back from royal duties, has resulted in a change to these plans. This morning, we’ve received confirmation from the University that The Duke has stepped down from his position with immediate effect to allow the University to appoint a new Chancellor. We know that students will welcome this decision, and the Students’ Union would like to offer our sympathy to the victims of Epstein and all those affected by sexual abuse across the world.
"We can also confirm that the Students’ Union will be coordinating a process to appoint a new Chancellor and are delighted that the University has taken the decision to put students at the forefront of the process; we’ll be releasing more information about this at our AGM on Tuesday November 26.
"We look forward to welcoming a new Chancellor who puts students’ values at the heart of everything they do."
It follows a US lawyer representing some of Epstein's alleged victims raising the possibility of questioning the duke under oath over his relationship with Epstein.
Discussing how Andrew could become involved in any legal process, Lisa Bloom said that, as an attorney, she had "the right" to seek a statement from individuals she deemed to have "relevant information".
The duke is to continue working on his flagship project Pitch@Palace but will do so privately without the support of Buckingham Palace, it emerged.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman told the PA news agency on Thursday: "He will continue to work on Pitch but will look at how to do that outside and entirely separate from the palace."
It is thought the duke will not have any involvement with the dozens of charities, organisations and military units he is associated with.
Pressure had been mounting on the duke in the wake of his so-called 'car crash' Newsnight interview, with a growing number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities distancing themselves from him and Pitch@Palace.
He faced criticism for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein's victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with the financier, who took his own life while in prison earlier this year awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
In the interview, the duke denied claims that he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage.