Around a year after his trainwreck interview with Emily Maitlis on BBC’s “Newsnight”, Prince Andrew is looking to return to public duties.
According to the Sunday Times, the Duke of York wants to “serve his country” and claims he has “the Queen and the Royal Family’s backing.”
Prince Andrew first stepped down from being a working royal “for the foreseeable future” in the fallout from his friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew attempted to clear his name in an interview with Maitlis, addressing his friendship with Epstein and allegations he had sex three times with Virginia Giuffre, who was a minor at the time.
While Andrew has denied Giuffre’s claims, the interview only raised more questions.
Andrew is reportedly looking at “reframing” his role if he can “resolve legal issues with the U.S. authorities investigating Epstein.”
“The duke is spending time working out how he can serve his country and support the monarchy in the future, and what else he might want to do with his life,” a source told the publication. “He’s locked down at Royal Lodge [his home on the Queen’s Windsor estate], thinking about his future service and public role. He has some clear thoughts.”
The source added that Andrew is judging the “public mood” and “feels he has support from the family, very much so, including all his siblings and his parents.”
Buckingham Palace told ET Canada that “the duke’s statement from November 2019 on stepping back from royal duties continues to be relevant with regard to the duke’s future.”
A senior aide added to the Sunday Times, “There are family discussions about it. But while the hurdles around the Epstein case are still hanging over him, it will be difficult for him to represent the family in any capacity as his presence would overshadow the work of the monarchy.”
The comments also come after recently unsealed documents from Ghislaine Maxwell’s case revealed that Prince Andrew asked her about Giuffre.
Should Andrew return, or the discussions even open, it could be disastrous for the Royal Family, whose reputation hangs on perception.
Even if his name is cleared regarding Giuffre, Andrew failed to condemn his relationship with Epstein and couldn’t give a straight answer about whether he regretted it. In addition, his worst condemnation was describing Epstein’s behaviour as “unbecoming,” which should be enough to not represent the monarchy.
Whether Prince Andrew returns to working royal status is a choice that ultimately lies with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Prince William.
Just before news broke that Andrew was testing the waters on a new public role, he was photographed arriving at Windsor Castle on Saturday.
His appearance is his first since the latest revelations in the Epstein case.