Duke of York returns to royal duties following Epstein sex scandal claims
The Duke of York has returned to royal duties for the first time since controversy erupted over his links to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew was pictured at the Dartmouth Royal Regatta in Devon on Friday, an event of which he is patron.
Photos posted on the Royal Family Twitter account showed the Queen’s second-youngest son on the water, and meeting people at the regatta’s 175th anniversary celebrations.
The images come six days after he denied he ever suspected “any behaviour of the sort” from convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein was found dead on August 10 in his prison cell in New York.
He was facing fresh charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy and could have faced a trial next year.
Andrew has been dogged by accusations of a lack of judgment about his links with Epstein.
He was photographed with the billionaire in New York’s Central Park in December 2010, two years after Epstein admitted prostituting minors in 2008 and spent 18 months in prison.
Andrew said in a statement on August 24: “It is apparent to me since the suicide of Mr Epstein that there has been an immense amount of media speculation about so much in his life.
“This is particularly the case in relation to my former association or friendship with Mr Epstein.
“Therefore I am eager to clarify the facts to avoid further speculation.
“I met Mr Epstein in 1999. During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year. I have stayed in a number of his residences.
“At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.”
Buckingham Palace has issued strong denials over claims from a woman who said she was forced to have under-age sex with the duke.
Virginia Roberts alleged in court papers in Florida that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under the age of consent in the state.
But Buckingham Palace has called the allegations “false and without any foundation”, saying “Any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors” by the duke was “categorically untrue”.