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Prince Andrew should be FORGIVEN following sex abuse scandal, Archbishop of Canterbury declares

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been forced to backtrack after he claimed Prince Andrew should be forgiven following his sex scandal.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said that he thinks it’s a ‘very good thing’ that the shamed Royal is trying to make up for his role in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

Speaking on ITV tonight, the Archbishop said he felt people should try to forgive the Duke of York, and that everyone should ‘step back a bit’.

But the Archbishop was later forced to clarify his remarks after eyebrows were raised at the suggestion, saying he was not specifically referring to Prince Andrew when he said we must become a more forgiving society.

Instead, he insisted he was making a ‘broader point’ about Britain becoming a more forgiving society and denied he was referring specifically to the Duke. 

The Archbishop’s comments came after the Queen’s eldest son was implicated in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, with claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl who had been trafficked by the paedophile billionaire.

He eventually paid his accuser, Virginia Guiffre, £12 million in a settlement that stopped it ending up in court.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, pictured here shaking hands with Prince Andrew, has suggested the Duke of York be forgiven

Prince Andrew had been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl who had been trafficked by paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein (pictured)

Prince Andrew had been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl who had been trafficked by paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein (pictured)

Archbishop Justin Welby, in an interview with ITV News presenter Tom Bradby, said: ‘Forgiveness really does matter. I think we have become a very, very unforgiving society. There’s a difference between consequences and forgiveness. 

‘I think for all of us, one of the ways that we celebrate when we come together is in learning to be a more open and forgiving society. 

‘Now with Prince Andrew, I think we all have to step back a bit. He’s seeking to make amends and I think that’s a very good thing. 

‘But you can’t tell people how they’re to respond about this. And the issues of the past in the area of abuse are so intensely personal and private for so many people. 

‘It’s not surprising. There’s very deep feelings, indeed.’ 

Earlier, the Archbishop remarked that he did not ‘do pastoral stuff in public’, suggesting the Duke may have consulted him privately. 

The Archbishop also defended the Queen’s decision to walk with her second son at Prince Philip’s memorial service in March, saying she was ‘fully entitled’ to do so.

After the interview aired, the Archbishop was forced to clarify his comments. 

The comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, pictured, came days before the start of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations

The comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, pictured, came days before the start of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations

A spokesman said: ‘In his ITV News interview the Archbishop was not referring specifically to Prince Andrew when he said we must become a more forgiving society. He was making a broader point about the kind of society that he hopes the Platinum Jubilee inspires us to be.’

In a personal statement, the Archbishop added: ‘In tonight’s interview with ITV News, I was asked a question about forgiveness, and I said that there is a difference between consequences and forgiveness. Both are essential elements of the Christian understanding of justice, mercy and reconciliation.

‘I also made the broader point that I hope we can become a more forgiving society. These are complex issues that are difficult to address in a short media interview and I hope they do not distract from this week’s joyful celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.’

In the interview, the Archbishop was also asked about the rift between Prince William and Harry. ‘It’s sad when families are struggling, but what family isn’t?’ he said.

‘Jesus says, anyone who’s never sinned cast the first stone, and they all go away… I think if there’s any family where the relationships are perfect, they’re entitled to judge, but I’m not going to.’ 

Shamed Royal, Prince Andrew (pictured), is 'trying to make amends' after being involved in a sex scandal, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said

Shamed Royal, Prince Andrew (pictured), is ‘trying to make amends’ after being involved in a sex scandal, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said

The Archbishop himself, who had been due to preach at the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, has pulled out while he deals with Covid and pneumonia. 

He was also asked about the rift between brothers the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

‘Of course, it’s sad when families are struggling, but what family, isn’t?’ he said.

‘Jesus says, anyone who’s never sinned cast the first stone, and they all go away… I think if there’s any family where the relationships are perfect, they’re entitled to judge, but I’m not going to.’ 

The intervention by the Archbishop comes days before the celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, during which Prince Andrew will not be as visible alongside other senior Royals. 

Despite this, Andrew took a front and centre role in escorting his mother to Philip’s memorial service in March. 

This was a surprising change to the planned arrangements, as only weeks earlier he had been banished from royal public life and paid to settle his court case. 

The 62-year-old will also take part in the ceremony at Windsor Castle on June 13 alongside other senior royals for what is one of the most important ceremonies in the Royal calendar.

His name will also appear in the next day’s Court Circular, and will attend Garter Day ceremonies as a Royal Knight.

The annual iconic Garter Day procession, where The Queen and the Knights process in grand velvet robes, glistening insignia and plumed hats, is one of the most traditional ceremonies in the Queen’s calendar.

The Queen is sovereign of the Order and appoints Knights of the Garter without input from ministers, meaning that Prince Andrew’s appointment was considered as private.

There are now fears Andrew’s attendance at Garter Day celebrations could overshadow the event, especially after he was said to have agreed to step back from public life following the conclusion of the case.

Andrew is expected to appear alongside the Queen for Garter Day at Windsor Castle on June 13 despite the fallout of his sex abuse scandal and ties to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (The Queen and Prince Andrew pictured 2019 at Trooping The Colour)

Andrew is expected to appear alongside the Queen for Garter Day at Windsor Castle on June 13 despite the fallout of his sex abuse scandal and ties to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (The Queen and Prince Andrew pictured 2019 at Trooping The Colour)

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, center right, arrive for a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London, Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, center right, arrive for a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London, Tuesday, March 29, 2022

It comes after Prince Andrew signed a £12 million settlement ensuring claims by Virginia Guiffre that he had sex with her when she was 17 years old would not go to trial. This settlement was not an admission of guilt.

Andrew denied these allegations publicly, including taking part in a now-infamous interview with Emily Maitlis during which he claimed to have been at a Pizza Express in Woking on the night in question.

It comes after a source revealed last week that the disgraced Prince is working overtime to try and win back the trust of the Queen.

Speaking to The Mirror, they said he had been visiting his mother everyday in the build-up to the Jubilee celebrations. 

They said: ‘He wants to make it up to the Queen which is why he is doing all he can to see her as much as possible.

‘The rest of the family, apart from Her Majesty, are united in feeling that he should stay out of the limelight and keep quiet having left such a stain on the family.’

The Prince has already been stripped of his royal patronages and honorary military titles.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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