The DUKE of York has been seen in public for the first time after his dramatic decision to step down from official royal duties.
Andrew, who quit his life as a working royal yesterday evening over his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was pictured leaving Royal Lodge in Berkshire.
The duke, dressed in a suit and tie, gave a wave as he drove away from his family home in Windsor Great Park.
In the aftermath of the Queen’s second son announcing he would step down from public duties for the ‘foreseeable future’, a US lawyer representing some of Epstein’s alleged victims has raised the possibility of questioning the duke under oath over his relationship with Epstein.
Discussing how Andrew could become involved in any legal process, Lisa Bloom said that, as an attorney, she had ‘the right’ to seek a statement from individuals she deemed to have ‘relevant information’.
The duke is to continue working on his flagship project Pitch@Palace but will do so privately without the support of Buckingham Palace, it has emerged.
It is thought the duke will not have any involvement with the dozens of charities, organisations and military units he is associated with.
Asked if the Duke of York was right to step back from public life, prime minister Boris Johnson told reporters on a visit to Bedfordshire: ‘All I can say is that it is very important that all the victims of Jeffrey Epstein get justice and the law must be done and must be seen to be done.’
Graham Smith, of Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said: ‘”Prince Andrew’s decision to step back is more smoke and mirrors to protect the image of the monarchy.’
In his statement, Andrew said he was ‘willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required’.
Ms Bloom told BBC Breakfast: ‘It’s not going to be easy to subpoena someone like Prince Andrew, he’s obviously not walking down the street where a process server can just hand him a piece of paper, it’s a lot more complicated.
‘If he refused to come, we may have a diplomatic situation [between the UK and US]. I hope it doesn’t come to that.
‘I take him at his word that he says he is going to co-operate, and I hope that’s what’s going to happen.’
Pressure had been mounting on the duke in the wake of his so-called ‘car crash’ Newsnight interview in which he faced criticism for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein’s victims.
In the interview, the duke denied claims that he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage.