Prince Andrew 'forced to cancel Bahrain trip' amid fallout over friendship with Jeffrey Epstein

Sean Morrison
Britain's Prince Andrew leaves Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday night: REUTERS
Britain's Prince Andrew leaves Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday night: REUTERS

Prince Andrew has reportedly been forced to cancel a trip to Bahrain as the fallout over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein continues after he stepped away from public duties.

He was to fly to the Middle East this weekend as part of his Pitch@Palace project for tech entrepreneurs but the plans were scrapped at the last minute, insiders have said.

Andrew quit his life as a working royal on Wednesday evening over his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

On reports that his trip to Bahrain was cancelled, a source told the Mail: “[Andrew] was persuaded by his family that it was not a good idea in light of this week's events.”

Andrew leaves his home in Windsor, the day after he suspended his work with his charities, organisations and military units because of the fallout from his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (PA)
Andrew leaves his home in Windsor, the day after he suspended his work with his charities, organisations and military units because of the fallout from his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (PA)

Despite stepping back from public life, Andrew will be continuing with Pitch@Palace "outside and entirely separate from the palace," a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said.

It is thought he will not have any involvement with the dozens of other charities, organisations and military units with which he has been associated.

The Prince of Wales advised the Queen that she must effectively sack Prince Andrew to safeguard the long-term future of the monarchy, it was reported yesterday.

Prince Andrew and Prince Charles at St Paul's Cathedral (Getty Images)
Prince Andrew and Prince Charles at St Paul's Cathedral (Getty Images)

Prince Charles moved decisively to end his brother’s career in public life because of the damage being caused by the Duke of York’s “ill-judged” friendship with paedophile billionaire Epstein.

“This is not about personalities, this is about protecting the institution of the monarchy itself,” a senior figure said.

Officially, Andrew, 59, made the decision to step down from royal duties “for the foreseeable future” after discussion with senior royals.

But sources said he was given no choice as Charles — on tour in New Zealand — and the Queen felt swift action was needed.

Prince Andrew, pictured here in 2011, has stepped away from public life (AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Andrew, pictured here in 2011, has stepped away from public life (AFP via Getty Images)

Pitch will become a private initiative separate from the public work Andrew has relinquished after the backlash following the television interview about his friendship with Epstein, widely viewed as a PR disaster.

However, several organisations have distanced themselves from the duke in the aftermath of the Queen's second son announcing he would step down from public duties for the "foreseeable future".

Pressure had been mounting on the duke in the wake of his interview, with a growing number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities distancing themselves from him and Pitch@Palace.

By Thursday, two organisations had severed ties with him and a sponsor of Pitch@Palace said Andrew's plans to continue leading it were "not tenable".

The Outward Bound Trust - which Andrew has supported for decades - accepted his resignation as patron and Huddersfield University confirmed the duke would be relinquishing his role as its chancellor.

A source, speaking for a sponsor of Andrew's Pitch@Palace, said his desire to carry on as normal would not work and if its "reputational" problems continued the backer would end its contract.

The source, close to a sponsor of Pitch, said: "To say you're stepping back from public life but then carry on is not a tenable position by the palace, and I think the sponsor shares that view.

"We really want the programme to continue and succeed, because it's a valuable programme, but if it's going to continue to have reputational problems then we'll have to walk away from our contract."

Andrew will be scaling down his public work from now on, but it is not clear if his finances will change as he is supported by his mother the Queen and her help will never be disclosed.

After the interview, Andrew faced criticism for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein's victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with the financier, who took his own life while in prison earlier this year awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

The duke denied claims he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein's victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage.

Read more

Prince Andrew seen for first time after stepping back from duties

Who is Prince Andrew, the 'Playboy Prince' and controversial royal?

Prince Charles 'advised Queen she must sack Andrew to save monarchy'

---Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK---