Prince Andrew dumped by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

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The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has decided to “part company” with Prince Andrew.

The RPO said it would like to express “gratitude to His Royal Highness for his support of the orchestra over the past 15 years” as it became the latest organisation to sever ties.

A spokesman for the English National Ballet also announced it had accepted the duke’s resignation as patron “with immediate effect” – and thanked him for 18 years of support.

Earlier today Prince Andrew was photographed horse riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle estate with the Queen.

It is the second time he has been spotted out and about since his decision to step back from royal duties, following the widely criticised TV interview over his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Andrew was also photographed leaving his house the Royal Lodge, in Windsor, Berkshire, on Thursday.

The Duke of York leaves his home in Windsor, Berkshire, the day after he suspended his royal duties
Image: The Duke of York leaves his home in Windsor, Berkshire, the day after he suspended his royal duties

He was expected to travel to Bahrain in the Middle East this weekend as part of his Pitch@Palace project for tech entrepreneurs, but cancelled plans following reported pressure from his family.

More from Prince Andrew

Despite stepping back from public life, Andrew will be continuing with Pitch@Palace “outside and entirely separate from the palace”, Buckingham Palace said.

Asked about the Duke of York retaining his military titles and attending Remembrance Day and the Trooping of the Colour, the palace added: “The Duke of York will keep his military commands but will not be carrying out any public engagements. He remains a member of the Royal Family. As a royal colonel and a war veteran he will take part in these ceremonies.”

It is thought he will not have any involvement with the dozens of other charities and organisations with which he has been associated.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Prince Andrew claimed he has 'no recollection' of ever meeting Virginia Roberts.
Image: In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Prince Andrew claimed he has ‘no recollection’ of ever meeting Virginia Roberts.

Sky News understands that Amanda Thirsk, who was appointed the duke’s private secretary in 2012 and was involved in the negotiations for the Newsnight interview, has not been sacked as has been reported.

Sky’s royal correspondent, Rhiannon Mills, said: “I understand she has not been sacked and that the Duke of York has not asked her to step down. He is the only person who can sack her.

“But with little need for a private secretary now the prince has stepped back from royal duties it is the likely next step that she may step down.”

Mills said Ms Thirsk, who has worked at the palace for the prince since 2004, would be focusing on projects including Pitch@Palace of which she is chief executive and will also manage the Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award.

Princess Anne has refused to answer questions regarding her brother the Duke of York.
Princess Anne tight-lipped over Andrew

A spokesperson for Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge said it “will be reviewing the position of Prince Andrew, Duke of York as an Honorary Fellow” at its governing body meeting next week.

This comes after two other organisations on Friday confirmed they had cut ties with the prince following the interview.

Trustees of Baker Dearing Educational Trust confirmed to Sky News that the duke had ceased being patron of the organisation – which helps run the 50 university technical colleges across the country – with “immediate effect”.

Tall Ships Youth Trust, a sail training charity, said it has started “the process of seeking a new patron”.

Prince Andrew, who was accused of “utterly lacking in compassion” for the victims of the late billionaire Epstein, this week said his association with the disgraced financier had “become a major disruption to my family’s work”.

“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” he said.

“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency.”

An image appearing to show Prince Andrew and a 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at Ghislaine Maxwell's house in London in March 2001. Pic: Rex/Shutterstock
Image: An image appearing to show Prince Andrew and a 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at Ghislaine Maxwell’s house in London in March 2001. Pic: Rex/Shutterstock

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In his interview with Newsnight at the weekend, the prince said he thought visiting Epstein – who killed himself in jail earlier this year – in 2010 to end their friendship was “the honourable thing to do”.

He said he “let the side down” by staying at the billionaire’s New York mansion, but said he had done so because it was “convenient”.

The duke also said he had “no recollection” of meeting Ms Roberts Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with a number of his associates, including Andrew, when she was 17.

When asked whether he had sex with Ms Roberts Giuffre after meeting in a London nightclub in 2001, he said the alleged encounter did not happen.

He said he had been in Pizza Express in Woking that afternoon with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, and was then at home that evening.

Andrew also suggested a photo of him and Ms Roberts Giuffre together at the London home of Ms Maxwell may have been doctored.

The prince’s decisions to stand down from his positions has been labelled a “positive first step” but he has been urged by lawyers for Ms Roberts Giuffre to cooperate with US investigations.

David Boies said: “Prince Andrew’s recent interview and his subsequent action to withdraw from public life is welcome news. It is a positive first step towards taking responsibility for his actions.

“However, basing his decision to step away from his duties due to his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein is only a half truth.

“He clearly had a long-term association with Ghislaine Maxwell who we maintain was Epstein’s co-conspirator and played a central role in devastating the lives of countless women.”

The duke is not under investigation and has denied any wrongdoing.

Ms Maxwell has previously denied any wrongdoing and her current whereabouts are unknown.

Prince Andrew dumped by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has decided to “part company” with Prince Andrew. The RPO said it would like to express “gratitude to His Royal Highness for his support of the orchestra over the past 15 years” as it became the latest organisation to sever ties.

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