Charles takes over brother Andrew’s former patronage

Laura Elston
·2-min read

The Prince of Wales has become patron of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) – a role previously held by his brother the Duke of York.

Andrew was relinquished of the post by the RPO Board in November 2019 following the controversy around his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

He stepped down from public duties following his disastrous Newsnight interview in which he was accused of lacking empathy for Epstein’s victims.

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Heir to the throne Charles stressed the importance of protecting the arts during the pandemic.

The orchestra, which has welcomed a new music director, Vasily Petrenko, has pledged to help communities recover from the Covid-19 crisis as it prepares to mark its 75th anniversary.

Watch: Prince Charles 'plans to streamline the monarchy'

RPO managing director James Williams said he was honoured to have Charles as patron.

“At the RPO, we have been hard at work for some months, shaping a bold strategy for our concert, community engagement, inclusion and education programmes to enrich communities when it matters most; we aim to help people and businesses to rebuild after the long, dark months of lockdown,” he said.

“With the announcement of the Prince of Wales as our patron and the appointment of Vasily Petrenko as our new music director, the RPO is well placed to lead the resurgence and spread the joy of orchestral music in a post-Covid world.”

Andrew was involved in supporting the RPO for 15 years.

Duke of Edinburgh funeral
The Duke of York at Philip’s funeral (Chris Jackson/PA)

The funeral of his father the Duke of Edinburgh, on April 17, was his first appearance at an official royal event since he ended his time carrying out public duties.

Andrew has faced calls to speak to US prosecutors and the FBI, which intensified after his friend Ghislaine Maxwell was charged with recruiting girls for Epstein to sexually abuse.

Virginia Giuffre, who says she was trafficked by Epstein as a teenager, said in an interview with BBC Panorama that she was left “horrified and ashamed” after an alleged sexual encounter with the duke in London in 2001.

Andrew categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.

Watch: Who is Prince Andrew?