Prince Andrew breaks cover: Under-fire Duke is seen for first time since ‘car crash’ interview as it’s revealed Palace aides AXED his visit to flood victims in Yorkshire and he’s now restricted to desk duties
- Prince Andrew cancelled visit to the flood-hit towns of Fishlake and Stainforth
- Insider claimed trip was scrapped as result of fall-out from Newsnight interview
- Buckingham Palace denied this and claimed it was due to electioneering in area
- Sources close to the Queen denied she had summoned her son for crisis talks
Prince Andrew has finally broken cover 72 hours after his BBC catastrophe as he was banished from royal duties and sent to sit behind a desk at his mother’s house.
The Duke of York should have been meeting flood-hit communities in the north of England but instead he was diverted to Buckingham Palace as the backlash after his Newsnight special kept getting worse.
Sources close to the Queen denied she had summoned her son for crisis talks amid the furore over his interview about convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
They insisted it was ‘business as usual’ for the beleaguered royal and they angrily hit back at media coverage of the debacle, saying the public ‘traducing’ of the prince was turning into a ‘personality-motivated witch-hunt’.
But big businesses and his charities are now abandoning him because of his toxic links to Jeffrey Epstein and allegations he had sex with the paedophile’s ‘slave’ Virginia Roberts when she was 17.
Pictured: Prince Andrew leaves Buckingham Palace after spending the afternoon there on Tuesday – the first time he has been seen since his BBC interview
One source also reiterated that Andrew would be willing to co-operate with the US authorities investigating Epstein’s crimes.
‘He made clear in the interview that of course if anyone wants to ask him a question then of course he is going to answer it. It is ridiculous to think he wouldn’t… but they haven’t asked him yet,’ they said.
It came as Andrew was forced to cancel a visit to the flood-hit towns of Fishlake and Stainforth, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, yesterday. A source said his trip – which was not publicised in advance – was scrapped as a result of the fall-out from his BBC Newsnight interview.
But Buckingham Palace, while confirming that he had intended to quietly visit the area, denied this, saying it was due to electioneering in the region.
Prince Andrew was forced to cancel a visit to the flood-hit towns of Fishlake and Stainforth, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, yesterday
‘The Duke was due to attend to offer his support and thanks to the emergency services but with an election campaign and a politician also visiting it was not appropriate for the visit to continue,’ an official said.
Flood victim Pam Webb said she thought a visit by Andrew would not have been a good move as it would have detracted from the crisis.
She said: ‘We would welcome a royal visit, but maybe not by him at this time. Efforts have to be focused on the flooding and what’s happened here.’
A source said the trip was scrapped as a result of the fall-out from his BBC Newsnight interview about Jeffrey Epstein (pictured together in 2011)
Instead Andrew was spotted leaving his Windsor mansion, Royal Lodge, to drive himself into London in his £150,000 Bentley, yesterday morning.
He parked up in the palace forecourt and remained there during the day.
Sources close to the prince expressed their anger at the interview’s coverage, particularly reports over how firms were now pulling their support from his initiatives such as Pitch@Palace, a scheme for entrepreneurs.
One royal insider said: ‘If you want to hammer a man while he is down then go for it, but Pitch has done, and is continuing to do, an immense amount of good work.’
The source said both of the prince’s initiatives, Pitch@Palace and digital awards scheme iDEA, had independent operating structures and had been built to ‘weather any storms’.
But they also insisted that there were no plans for Andrew to step down as their figurehead.
‘This is a witch-hunt and is, as far as anyone can see, one that is personality-motivated,’ they said.
‘If he had done something criminal then that would be one thing, but he hasn’t. This is completely unfair and unbalanced.’