Prince Andrew is reportedly ‘plotting’ a return to royal duties a year after officially stepping down from public duties, after being engulfed in a scandal involving convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
In a statement in November last year, The Duke of York said his association with Epstein had become a ‘major distraction’ to the royal family's work, but now hopes to ‘support the monarchy’ by finding a new role for himself.
“The Duke is spending time working out how he can serve his country and support the monarchy in the future, and what else he might want to do with his life,” a source told The Times.
The 60-year-old has reportedly spent much of his time during lockdown thinking about his potential future service role.
“He has some clear thoughts,” the insider added. “He’s very sensitive to the public mood and acutely conscious that the public are the most important stakeholder.”
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace however has reportedly said there are ‘no plans to review’ Andrew’s position, which would need to be signed off by the Queen.
The senior royal aide said there were ‘family discussions’ underway about it, but it would be “difficult for him to represent the family in any capacity”.
Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son, has denied any allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured for him by his friend Epstein, the financier who killed himself in a US prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
The scandal escalated after Andrew's rambling explanations in a disastrous BBC TV interview, which left many viewers incredulous, and his apparent lack of compassion for Epstein's victims drew widespread condemnation, forcing him to step down.
Prince Andrew was reportedly in 'crisis talks' with Queen back in September over the ongoing Epstein scandal. He was spotted leaving lockdown in Berkshire after five months, just weeks after the July arrest of Jeffrey’s former girlfriend, English socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
Ghislaine was arrested and charged with sex trafficking minors for the late Jeffrey Epstein. Prosecutors allege that she helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14 between 1994 and 1997.
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