The Duke of York has turned off comments on his personal Instagram account, @hrhthedukeofyork. This comes after the Duke faced backlash over his past relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein committed suicide in his jail cell last month after being arrested on multiple sex trafficking-related charges in July.
Prince Andrew is known to welcome feedback from his followers, but about three weeks ago, the option to post comments on Andrew’s posts was removed. Over the past few weeks, Andrew has shared several photos – one to commemorate his sister, Princess Anne’s birthday, a post in honour of Book Lover’s Day and two highlighting the Duke’s patronages. All photos were posted without the option to comment.
Following the Epstein scandal, the Duke has continued to post on Twitter even though the social media site does not allow the option to turn off comments. Lately, any replies towards the Prince have often referenced Andrew’s former friendship with Epstein – a friendship that has sparked many accusations against the royal.
Following Epstein’s arrest, Andrew stayed silent. However, in the weeks since his passing, the 59-year-old royal has made several statements about their relationship. The Duke of York has strongly denied any wrongdoing on a number of occasions.
The Queen’s son admitted that it was a “mistake and an error” to spend time with Epstein in 2010. At that time, Epstein was already a convicted sex offender. Andrew responded that he is “appalled” by Epstein’s alleged crimes.
It had also been confirmed that Andrew stayed at several of Epstein’s properties over the years. The Duke does claim that he did not “see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to [Epstein’s] arrest and conviction,” denying that there was any inappropriate behaviour with a minor.
In a statement, the Duke wrote, “I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.”
After speaking out, the PR push doesn’t seem to have solved the Prince’s problems. In a Sky News article, it’s said that several of Andrew’s royal duties have been impacted. Upcoming public engagements in Northern Ireland were cancelled just this week with event organisers citing the Epstein scandal as the reason for the cancellation.
With those engagements cancelled, the Prince is still travelling to Northern Ireland to attend the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy tournament. The tournament will be held at the Royal Portrush golf course next week.