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Palace denies Andrew used role as trade envoy to help his friend

BUCKINGHAM PALACE has insisted the Duke of York was promoting British interests and not those of individuals in his role as a UK trade envoy.

A report by The Mail On Sunday claims Prince Andrew (pictured) had conflicts of interest between his ‘close friend’, multi-millionaire property developer David Rowland, and his role as Britain’s special representative for international trade and investment.

But a royal spokesman said the duke’s ten-year stint in the role between 2001 and 2011 was ‘to promote Britain and British interests overseas not the interests of individuals’. Former foreign affairs committee member Chris Bryant has called for an inquiry.

Prince Andrew stepped down from public duties in the wake of his disastrous Newsnight interview about his association with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in jail earlier this year while facing sex trafficking charges.

During the interview, Prince Andrew said his relationship with Epstein gave him the opportunity to meet people and help prepare for the official role.

The duke stepped aside as trade envoy in 2011 after it became known he stayed with Epstein following the convicted sex offender’s release from jail.

Meanwhile, the first British TV interview with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims she was forced into a sexual encounter with Prince Andrew — which he strenuously denies — will be aired at 9pm tonight on BBC One’s Panorama.