Prince Andrew’s website has been taken down with visitors being redirected to the royal family’s main site.
The page redirect has an “About” page regarding the Duke of York, which features a link to a statement released about his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who is now dead.
“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 statement reads. “Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, has come under scrutiny over his friendship with Epstein dating back to the late 1990s.
Epstein was arrested last July on federal sex trafficking charges. He died in his Manhattan jail cell last fall, which the New York City medical examiner determined to be a suicide.
Earlier this month, Epstein’s longtime confidante, Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested on charges of conspiring with Epstein to recruit, groom, and sexually abuse underage girls as well as perjury in depositions related to Epstein.
One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, claims Epstein and Maxwell exploited her when she was underage and accused Andrew of forcing her to have sex with him at Maxwell’s home in London and at Epstein’s homes in New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands when she was 17. Andrew has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The Southern District of New York is pursuing testimony from Price Andrew as part of its investigation into Epstein.
Maxwell pleaded not guilty this week and was denied bail by a judge. Her trial date has been set for July 2021.