Prince Andrew steps down as chancellor at Huddersfield University, says student union

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

Huddersfield University Students' Union has said that the Duke of York has stepped down as the institution's chancellor with immediate effect.

It comes after Prince Andrew last night confirmed he would pull back from the royal family's public duties for the "foreseeable future".

-> Prince Andrew cancels visit to Yorkshire's flood-hit communities days after Newsnight interview on Jeffrey Epstein
A number of businesses, charities and universities have in recent days cut ties with the duke following his ill-fated BBC interview with Emily Maitlis about his friendship with American child sex predator Jeffrey Epstein.

In a statement today, Huddersfield Students' Union said: "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., to take forward the motion “Lobby Prince Andrew to resign as University Chancellor”, as decided by the Student Panel on Monday 20 November.

The union had previously passed a motion to lobby for the duke's resignation from the university and had conducted discussions with the Vice Chancellor of the University over the last two days but the announcement of him stepping back from public duties changed the circumstances.

A process to appoint a new chancellor will be conducted by the union.

In a statement, 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.

"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 duke was seen in public for the first time after his dramatic decision to step back from official royal duties.

Andrew was pictured leaving Royal Lodge in Berkshire.

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.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman today said: "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.