Buckingham Palace confirmed to HuffPost on Thursday that despite Prince Andrew stepping away from his royal duties for the foreseeable future, the disgraced royal will still be pursuing his Pitch@Palace program.
“The Duke of York will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of Buckingham Palace,” a spokesperson said.
Many of the companies associated with the program, which is meant to connect entrepreneurs with helpful contacts and resources to accelerate their growth, have decided to rethink or end their connection with the initiative.
Other organizations that count Prince Andrew as a patron, including some 20 that work with children and young people, are also rethinking their relationship with the royal.
The Duke of York announced in an unprecedented move Wednesday that he was leaving royal and public life for the time being.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support,” the prince said in a statement, released on social media.
The decision to withdraw comes from the backlash surrounding the prince after his interview with BBC’s “Newsnight” on Saturday was regarded as a PR disaster. The duke failed to express sympathy for Jeffrey Epstein’s victims or strongly condemn the behavior of the financier.
“Do I regret that he [Epstein] has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? Yes,” the prince said at one point in the interview with Emily Maitlis.
“Unbecoming?” Maitlis said. “He was a sex offender.”
The 59-year-old also continued his stance of denying that he ever met or had sexual relations with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has alleged that at age 17 she was raped by the prince.
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