Archbishop of Canterbury appears to defend Prince Andrew over Epstein scandal: ‘Everyone makes mistakes’


The Archbishop of Canterbury has addressed the scandal surrounding Prince Andrew by saying that “everybody is human” and the royal family are a “gift to this country”.

Justin Welby was asked in an interview with The Big Issue if the royal family should adhere to a higher moral standard than the general public, in relation to the scandal involving the Duke of York.

He said: “I think to ask that they be superhuman saints is not what we should do because nobody is like that.

“Everybody makes mistakes, everybody is human. I’m not commenting on any member of the royal family except to say that I am astonished at what a gift they are to this country.”

Mr Welby added the royal family “serve in a way that is extraordinary in what is literally, for them, a life sentence”.

Prince Andrew is under scrutiny over his relationship with disgraced financier and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

He has been accused by Virginia Guiffre of being involved in sex trafficking, as she claims she was forced to sleep with him when she was a teenager by Epstein.

Andrew has categorically denied all involvement with Ms Guiffre.

The Archbishop added in his interview: “Where people go wrong – you just have to remember everyone is human.”

In the interview, he also spoke about the rise in rough sleepers, food bank users and hate crimes, and mentioned the death of MP Jo Cox.

He said: “We have had an MP murdered. I am not saying we are in a crisis, I am just saying the direction of travel is not what we want.”

In his Christmas message for the country, the archbishop quoted the New Testament: “Perfect love casts out fear.”

“Because the kind of love that God shows is a love that doesn’t expect return. That forgives failure. That loves people despite their ups and downs.

“That kind of love changes the world in a dramatic and wonderful way.”

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