Prince Andrew seen in public for first time since stepping away from public duties

Emily Maitlis and Prince Andrew. Credit: BBC.
Emily Maitlis and Prince Andrew. Credit: BBC.

The Duke of York has been seen in public for the first time after his dramatic decision to step down from official royal duties.

Andrew, who quit his life as a working royal on Wednesday evening over his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was spotted leaving Royal Lodge in Berkshire.

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The duke, dressed in a suit and tie, gave a wave as he drove away from his family home in Windsor Great Park.

In the aftermath of the Queen's second son announcing he would step down from public duties for the "foreseeable future", a US lawyer representing some of Epstein's alleged victims has raised 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.

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A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said today: "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.

Graham Smith, of Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said: "Prince Andrew's decision to step back is more smoke and mirrors to protect the image of the monarchy.

"It's been reported he will remain patron of many organisations and continue his involvement in Pitch@Palace.

"Several years ago Andrew was stripped of his trade ambassador title, but then continued to fly around the world representing this country.

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"The palace needs to clarify exactly what they mean by him stepping back and explain why he isn't stepping down.

"Otherwise, this just looks like more spin to cover royal backs than real accountability.

"This whole episode shows why the monarchy is not fit for purpose. Andrew is the worst example of a long tradition of bad behaviour. We need a democratic alternative to the monarchy sooner rather than later."