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The Yorks

Prince Andrew returns to royal duties

Thorne1983 CC BY-SA 3.0

The Duke of York has returned to royal duties after his summer break, the majority of which he spent in Spain and Balmoral.

Prince Andrew was in Devon on Friday as he attended the Dartmouth Royal Regatta, of which he is Patron.

This was the first public engagement he has undertaken since the death of his former friend Jeffrey Epstein earlier this month.

Since the disgraced financier’s suicide in prison, Prince Andrew has been dragged into a storm, with people questioning why he continued his friendship even after Epstein was sent to prison for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

The Duke has since apologised for his former friendship, and stressed he did not suspect any of the behaviour Epstein committed.

However, many questions still remain unanswered, and there have been calls for the Duke of York to temporarily step back from royal duties until there are answers.

Royal historian Marlene Koenig said: “It is time for The Queen and Prince Charles to sit down with Andrew and strongly suggest that he gives up his patronages.

She continued: “Let his daughters take over a selection. He has a trust fund. Live quietly out of the public eye.”

Last week, the Duke released a lengthy statement in which he claimed that he first met Epstein in 1999 – one year before the picture in The Mirror was taken.

Andrew said: “I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year.”

He continued: “At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.”

In 2011 the Duke apologised for continuing his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein after the disgraced financier was jailed for 18 months in 2008.

Prince Andrew has stressed on a number of occasions that he has never engaged in any wrongdoing and at no stage suspected Epstein’s behaviour.

Epstein was facing federal sex trafficking charges in New York, however, news emerged of his death on Saturday morning.

The disgraced financier killed himself in his Manhattan cell just a few hours after the new court documents were opened.