After Prince Andrew addressed his previous friendship with Jeffrey Epstein in a new interview, the royal is now stepping away from his responsibilities. “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support,” the 59-year-old Duke of York said in a statement on Wednesday, November 20. “Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”

Prince Andrew explained that he didn’t want to be associated with the late financial guru — who pleaded guilty to two lesser counts of unlawful sex acts with a minor and went to jail before committing suicide in August 2019. “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” the statement read. “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathize 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 with their investigations, if required.”

The tell-all interview with Emily Maitlis, which was called “Andrew & the Epstein Scandal,” aired on Saturday, November 16, and was filmed at Buckingham Palace, according to Radar Online. Virginia Roberts alleged that Epstein “made her” have sex with Andrew “several times.” However, Prince Andrew denied Roberts’ allegations. “Andrew was excited to do the interview,” a palace insider exclusively told In Touch. “He thought this was his chance to clear his name.”

Prince Andrew Stepping Away From Public Duties After Explosive Interview
News Licensing/MEGA

Clearly, Prince Andrew’s approach backfired. “The palace was in turmoil before the interview aired because of this scandal, but now Andrew has made everything worse,” the royal source said. “What could he have been thinking? He should have known no good would come of this.”

Ultimately, Queen Elizabeth II, was not happy with Prince Andrew. “She now wishes she’d stood her ground because he’s dug himself into a bigger hole. But what’s done is done, and there’s no going back,” the insider added.

Despite the rocky situation, the source noted “it could be worse” for Andrew. “He’s lucky he’s the queen’s favorite. How much the queen knows — or believes to be true — is a mystery. I’m sure she watched the interview and knows the gravity of the accusations. But the queen is going to believe what she wants to believe, as many mothers do,” the insider said.

Prince Andrew Stepping Away From Public Duties After Explosive Interview

For more on this story, pick up the latest issue of In Touch Weekly, on newsstands now!

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!