Companies race to drop scandal-hit prince Andrew

Support us and go ad-free

The Duke of York has reportedly resigned from his role with his flagship business project [email protected] after days of speculation about his future with the initiative he founded.

He appears to have bowed to pressure and stepped down a day after one sponsor said his plans to continue leading Pitch were “not tenable”.

High-profile business sponsors KPMG, Standard Chartered and Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company, have all said they would not renew their financial support for Pitch while Barclays, a partner of the project, ended its association with the initiative on Friday.

Beleaguered Andrew also faces the prospect of Virginia Giuffre – an alleged Jeffrey Epstein victim who claims she had under-age sex with the duke, which he strenuously denies – being interviewed on BBC’s Panorama programme early in December.

After an interview on BBC‘s Newsnight, Andrew faced criticism for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein’s victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with the financier, who took his own life in prison earlier this year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

The Daily Telegraph reported sources as saying Andrew was no longer leading Pitch, which would continue without any royal involvement.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
75th Anniversary of the liberation of Bruges
The Duke of York (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) was among a number of organisations which announced on Friday they would no longer be involved with Andrew, following the controversy around his friendship with convicted sex offender Epstein.

In a statement, an RPO spokesperson said:

Following HRH the Duke of York’s announcement that he will be stepping back from public life, management representatives of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) met with prince Andrew’s office on Thursday afternoon.

At a subsequent meeting of the RPO board, it was decided that the orchestra should part company with its patron, with immediate effect.

The RPO would like to express its gratitude to His Royal Highness for his support of the orchestra over the past 15 years.

ENO Coppelia production
Erina Takahashi plays the role of Swanilda during a dress rehearsal for the English National Ballet’s Coppelia (Anthony Devlin/PA)

The English National Ballet also reportedly severed ties, accepting Andrew’s resignation from his role as patron.

He had been expected to travel to the Middle East this weekend as part of his Pitch project but has cancelled plans following reported pressure from his family.

He was pictured on Friday out riding with the Queen in the grounds around Windsor Castle with two other riders.

It has also been reported that his private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, has been removed from her palace-funded role and will become the chief executive of Pitch.

The Daily Mail said Ms Thirsk, believed to have been the driving force behind his Newsnight interview, will now run the business mentorship scheme for start-ups and tech entrepreneurs after she was dismissed.

Thirsk will also manage the Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award after Andrew quit his life as a working royal.

It has also been reported that Buckingham Palace was disturbed by the mention of Andrew’s relationship with Epstein in the ITV election debate on Tuesday.

The Times said senior aides and the Prince of Wales advised the queen that Andrew should be withdrawn from public life after concerns the scandal was overshadowing the democratic process.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson would not comment on reports the duke had stepped down from leading Pitch.

They said:

The duke 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.

We recognise there will be a period of time while this transition takes place.

Pressure had been mounting on the duke after his Newsnight interview about Epstein, with a growing number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities distancing themselves from him and [email protected]

The Outward Bound Trust, which Andrew had supported for decades, accepted his resignation as patron and Huddersfield University confirmed the duke would be relinquishing his role as its chancellor.

A source, speaking for a sponsor of Andrew’s [email protected], said his desire to carry on as normal would not work and if its “reputational” problems continued the backer would end its contract.

Orchestra
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Matt Crossick/PA)

The source, close to a sponsor of Pitch, said:

To say you’re stepping back from public life but then carry on is not a tenable position by the palace, and I think the sponsor shares that view.

Andrew will be scaling down his public work, but it is not clear if his finances will change as he is supported by his mother the queen and her help will never be disclosed.

The duke has denied claims he slept with Giuffre, on three separate occasions, twice while she was under-age.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Purveyors of ‘high culture’ such as the RPO are better off not being associated with royalty.

      In general, links between royalty and various ‘worthy causes’ are perceived as providing an imprimatur of respectability. In the case of royal support for ‘high culture’ the imprimatur operates in reverse direction: it gives a false impression of the royal family being immersed in the arts and sciences whereas in reality their tastes are staunchly nescient.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.