Royal engagements set to be carried out by the Duke of York in Northern Ireland have been cancelled according to reports from Sky News. Prince Andrew is due to visit this month but Sky is reporting that parts of his planned itinerary have been scrapped over the ongoing investigation into his links to the convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.
It’s understood that the changes have been made at the request of hosts rather than the Royal Household itself. Andrew is set to spend several days on the North Antrim coast and Sky understands that his planned attendance at an event marking the reopening of Portrush railway station has now been cancelled although it’s not clear who has requested he no longer be involved.
The Duke of York will still take part in a series of events in the area during his stay. He is set to attend the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at Royal Portrush Golf Club, an annual event which bears his name. The duke is patron of the club which hosted the British Open this year for the first time since the 1950s.
Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in prison last month while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. He had previously been convicted in 2008 of child sex offences.
Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied any knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes and in August 2019 issued a lengthy statement addressing questions over his relationship with him. He apologised for maintaining contact with Epstein following his release from prison but said ” 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.”