Why has the Duke of York stepped aside?

With the Duke of York withdrawing from public royal life, we answer key questions about Andrew, the Epstein saga and his decision step back from official engagements.

– Who is the Duke of York?

The Duke of York, born Prince Andrew, is the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s second son and third child.

He was married to Sarah, Duchess of York before they divorced in the 1990s, and is the father of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

The Yorks
The Yorks

– Where does he fall in line to the throne?

Andrew, 59, is eighth in line. He was born second in line in 1960.

– How has Andrew been associated with the Epstein scandal?

The duke faced criticism over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

He stayed with Epstein in 2010 following the disgraced financier’s release from jail – and quit as the UK trade envoy in 2011 when this visit became public.

One of Epstein’s victims Virginia Giuffre alleges the duke slept with her on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage. He strenuously denies this.

Epstein killed himself in August after being charged with sex trafficking.

– What happened this week?

Andrew gave a “no holds barred” interview to the BBC’s Newsnight in a bid to draw a line under the matter.

Andrew on Newsnight
Andrew on Newsnight

– What went wrong?

The duke was criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein’s victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with Epstein.

When asked if he regretted the “whole friendship with Epstein”, the duke replied: “Now, still not and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.”

– What were the references to pizza and sweat?

He said an alleged encounter with Ms Giuffre in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

Ms Giuffre alleged the duke sweated heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp.

Andrew during the Falklands War
Andrew during the Falklands War

But Andrew said he had a medical condition at the time, after suffering an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when he was shot at, which meant he did not sweat

– Why has he stepped back from public duties now?

Andrew’s position became untenable in the wake of the interview as a growing number of businesses, universities and charities distanced themselves from him or withdrew support from his Pitch@Palace scheme.


He made a personal decision to withdraw from royal engagements.

There had been ongoing discussions within the family about the current situation, with Andrew talking to the Queen and Prince of Wales.

– Has anything happened like this before within the royal family?

No, it is unprecedented in modern times. King Edward VIII abdicated, choosing love over duty in 1936, but Andrew has been forced out by the reaction to his televised interview.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor

– What did he say in his statement released on Wednesday?

In a very different tone to his interview, Andrew admitted his situation “has become a major disruption to my family’s work” and said he regretted the “ill-judged association” with Epstein.

He said the Queen gave him permission to step back from public duties for the “foreseeable future”, and he expressed sympathy for Epstein’s victims.

– What about calls for him to speak to the FBI?

Lawyers for some of the 16 women who say they were abused by Epstein have called on Andrew to make a statement to the FBI, which is still investigating Epstein despite his death.

Andrew said in his statement: “Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency.”

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

– Will Andrew retain his official residence at Buckingham Palace?

Yes. He is expected to do so. His private home is Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park.

– Will he still have police protection officers, paid for by the taxpayers?

Yes. Andrew is still a senior member of the royal family.

– How will his private life be financed?

Andrew’s private life will continue to be financed privately by the Queen as it currently is. He also receives a Royal Navy pension.

The duke’s office at Buckingham Palace is also paid for by the monarch from her private Duchy of Lancaster income, which is also used for any expenses he incurred from official duties.

Andrew and the Queen
Andrew and the Queen

Official royal travel came from taxpayers via the Sovereign Grant.

– Will he lose his HRH title?

No. He will remain HRH the Duke of York.

– Will he ever return to royal duties?

His statement referred to stepping back for the “foreseeable future”. But it is difficult to see how he could rebuild his reputation.

– What does the situation mean for Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie?

With the duke no longer taking part in royal duties, his drive for his daughters to have public roles is likely to diminish or fall by the wayside.

– And the next royal wedding?

The Yorks had been looking forward to another wedding in the family. Beatrice is set to marry property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi next year.

It is not known whether Beatrice will opt for a high-profile occasion like her sister Eugenie, or whether the current situation will impact her decision.