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Prince Andrew steps away from public duties over Epstein ties

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Prince Andrew, Duke of York, visits the Great Yorkshire Show on July 11, 20
Prince Andrew visits the Great Yorkshire Show on July 11, 2019 in Harrogate, England.   -   Copyright  Ian Forsyth
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Prince Andrew announced Wednesday that he is stepping away from public duties due to the controversy surrounding his past friendship with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York's announcement comes days after he discussed his relationship with the late, disgraced financier in a BBC Newsnight interview that primarily served to heighten public attention to the matter.

"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," Andrew's statement said.

"Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission," he continued.

He added, "I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. 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 with their investigations, if required."

In the BBC interview, Andrew denied allegations he had sex with a teenager who claims she was trafficked by Epstein. The interview broadcast late Saturday has since dominated headlines in the United Kingdom.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.