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Prince Andrew still named by royals as patron of numerous charities – despite severing ties a year ago

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·10 min read
Britain's Prince Andrew leaves St. Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, near royal Sandringham estate, in Norfolk, Britain January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Chris Radburn
Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties more than a year ago. (Reuters)

Prince Andrew is still listed as patron of dozens of charities on the Royal Family's official website despite many of them severing ties with him more than a year ago.

Andrew, 61, withdrew from his royal duties in November 2019 after a disastrous interview with the BBC's Newsnight in which he failed to apologise for his friendship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

He also went on to "step back" from more than 200 patronages, though many charities and organisations cut their ties with him before he quit.

When asked why the duke was still listed on the Royal Family website, Buckingham Palace told Yahoo News UK: "As we announced in 2019, The Duke of York has stepped back from his public duties and patronages for the foreseeable future.

"He is not undertaking any activity in support of the patronages during this period."

Yahoo News UK has contacted more than a dozen charities listed which have previously stated their intentions to either review Andrew's position with them or who explicitly cut ties with him before he stepped back. Some have expressed surprise that they are still listed on the royal site, though they did not want to comment further.

Gloria Allred, one of the lawyers involved in the US case against Epstein, told Yahoo News UK the listing on the palace website was "disturbing".

Allred, who represents 20 victims of Epstein, said: "Given the fact that the United States Justice Department has made it clear that it has requested that Prince Andrew answer questions in person with criminal investigators and prosecutors, concerning Jeffrey Epstein, the notorious sexual predator, and the Prince’s relationship with him. And given that Prince Andrew has failed to agree to that interview, thereby denying the whole truth and meaningful justice to child victims, I believe that the Palace should treat him as though he is a disgrace to the Royal Family.

"Treating him as a person who has brought shame upon them means that they should cease listing him on the Royal web page in a manner that appears to be assisting him with restoring his damaged reputation by listing charities with which he was once associated.

"These links should be removed immediately."

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Attorney Gloria Allred speaks to press members after the sentencing of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in New York Criminal Court on March 11, 2020 in New York City. Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison after being convicted of rape and criminal sexual assault. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Attorney Gloria Allred represents many of those who claim they were abused by Harvey Weinstein. (Getty Images)

Andrew denies all allegations against him, including that he had sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre who says she was trafficked by Epstein.

He also denied that he had not offered help to the FBI investigation, stating in June 2020 that US officials were "seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance" put forward.

In November 2019, Buckingham Palace said of the decision that Andrew would "step back": "The duke has over 230 patronages. He will be stepping back from public duty and temporarily standing back from all his patronages."

But more than a year on, and with no public duties carried out since then, the Royal Family website still lists hundreds of charities on his profile page, and says that he is a patron.

Allred added: "Prince Andrew should no longer be honoured by the Royal Family, and they should not appear to be assisting him to repair his public relations image. Victims deserve truth and justice. His association with charities does not provide justice to victims, and does not assist them in their search for truth.

"It is long overdue for the Palace to eliminate all charities from Prince Andrew’s Royal profile page."

London Met previously distanced itself from the Duke of York. (Royal.uk)
London Met previously distanced itself from the Duke of York. (Royal.uk)

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Several charities which Andrew was associated with distanced themselves before the palace announced he would step back, while others were reported to have removed his name from their websites without making public statements. Some announced they would looking into ties but Andrew's step back came before they made any formal decisions.

In 2019, London Metropolitan University said in a statement: "Following the announcement that Prince Andrew is stepping back from public duties... the Duke has resigned as the Patron of London Met with immediate effect.

"The University's Board of Governors will consult widely, in particular with our students, about whether and how we replace the Duke with any senior honorary roles."

Prior to his resignation, the University had said it was looking at his role and added: "The university opposes all forms of discrimination, abuse, human trafficking and any activity that is contrary to the university’s values."

London Met is still listed on the Royal website.

The Duke of York is listed as the patron of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. (Royal.uk)
The Duke of York is listed as the patron of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. (Royal.uk)

A Royal Philharmonic Orchestra statement after the BBC interview said: "Following HRH The Duke of York’s announcement that he will be stepping back from public life, management representatives of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) met with Prince Andrew’s office on Thursday afternoon.

“At a subsequent meeting of the RPO Board, it was decided that the orchestra should part company with its patron, with immediate effect.”

The RPO is also still on the website.

Action On Hearing Loss, which has since reverted to its former name of RNID, issued some of the strongest statements about their association.

They said: "On 21 November, our senior management met directly with HRH The Duke of York following his announcement that he would be stepping back from public duties.

"The charity’s Board of Trustees agreed that it would be appropriate for HRH The Duke of York to step down as our Patron with immediate effect."

Mark Atkinson, the charity's chief executive, then addressed the matter in an interview with charity magazine Third Sector.

He said: "We met him, had a broad conversation and asked him to step down. We weren’t part of the general stepping back we’d seen from other charities, but it was a proactive board decision.

"We then met him face to face."

Several of the duke's patronages were related to youth organisations, including some around the world.

In November 2019, a statement from the SickKids Foundation, based in Canada read: "His Royal Highness issued a statement on November 20 declaring he has stepped down from all public duties.

"We believe this was important and appropriate for him to do. With that announcement, His Royal Highness is no longer in the role of Royal Patron to SickKids.

"Prior to the announcement, the matter was to be discussed at a board meeting on Monday where we would seek our board’s counsel. Now it will be addressed to ensure our board is aware of what has transpired."

SickKids, based in Canada, is also still on the website.

Watch: Who is Prince Andrew?

The Canadian charity SickKids is also listed. (Royal.uk)
The Canadian charity SickKids is also listed. (Royal.uk)

Read more: 'It didn’t hurt at all’: Queen calls on all Britons to get the COVID vaccine when they can

Whitgift School, in Croydon, continues to be named on the side, despite making moves itself to be distanced from the duke in 2019.

Chris Ramsey, headmaster at Whitgift School, said at the time: “Following the Duke of York’s decision to stand aside from public duties, a decision has been made by the school and with the approval of the court of governors, to seek new patronages in the future.”

Andrew is still listed as the Admiral of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets - even though the organisation also distanced itself from him.

In 2019, it said: "The Sea Cadets is a modern youth development charity and following the recent announcement that the Duke of York is stepping back from royal duties we can confirm he will stand down from the position of admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps with immediate effect."

The Sea Cadets website lists the Queen as patron, and Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope as president.

Marine Society and Sea Cadets has taken any reference to the Duke of York off its website, but the charity remains listed on the Royal website. (Royal.uk)
Marine Society and Sea Cadets has taken any reference to the Duke of York off its website, but the charity remains listed on the Royal website. (Royal.uk)
The Whitgift School cut its ties with the duke. (Royal.uk)
The Whitgift School cut its ties with the duke. (Royal.uk)

The duke's patronages stretched across the Commonwealth and a number of charities in Canada in particular ended their relationship with him.

Carolyn Hyslop, executive director, The Canadian Canoe Museum said: “In view of recent events and the Duke’s stepping away from his official duties, the Museum’s board decided that it was appropriate to terminate the Museum’s relationship with him, with our thanks for the support he has provided the museum in years past."

Yorkshire Air Ambulance withdrew its connection with the duke in November 2019, saying at the time: "As a charity funded generously by public donations, we must seriously consider the opinions of our donors and supporters, and this has been a significant factor in reaching this decision."

They are still listed on the website.

Golf Foundation distanced itself in 2019, saying: "The Board of Trustees of the Golf Foundation has taken the decision to end its association with HRH The Duke of York as patron of the charity."

It is still listed.

The Sea Cadets stripped the duke of his role of admiral. At the time, a spokesman told The Sunday Post: “The Sea Cadets is a modern youth development charity and following the recent announcement that the Duke of York is stepping back from royal duties we can confirm he will stand down from the position of admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps with immediate effect.”

Their site now just lists the Queen as their royal patron - but the royal website has Andrew as their admiral.

Andrew also held a role with the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League as their grand president, but they removed his name from their website, even taking it off the list of past presidents.

It was confirmed to Yahoo UK that he was succeeded by General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux on appointment by the patron, the Queen.

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The Society for Nautical Research, Fight for Sight, the English National Ballet, Lakefield College School and the Friends of Lakefield College School all previously distanced themselves from the duke, but find themselves still listed on the royal website.

The duke went to Lakefield College School for six months in the 1970s and continued links with the school.

However when these came round to expiration in 2019, the school seemed keen to end them early. Anne-Marie Kee, the head of the school, told the National Post his post was "expiring" and then said it would end "now".

The Times reported in November 2019 that senior figures at the English National Ballet were lobbying for him to step down. Two days later, on 22 November, it was reported he had.

The University of Huddersfield, where students voted to remove him as chancellor, is not listed on the website.

The Canadian Canoe Museum distanced itself from the Duke of York. (Royal.uk)
The Canadian Canoe Museum distanced itself from the Duke of York. (Royal.uk)

Before he stepped back from his duties, Andrew's patronages were wide ranging, including links with 28 golf-related institutions, several hospitals, and four yacht clubs.

Some of these still recognise him as a patron, including the Royal Belfast and the Royal Cinque Ports clubs.

Andrew has barely been seen in public since he stepped back after the disastrous Newsnight interview in November 2019.

He was pictured helping pack bags for key workers alongside his former wife Sarah Ferguson, and also appeared in a snap with his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, on Ferguson's Instagram account.

But the duke has been noticeably absent from public markings of two big events - his daughter Beatrice's wedding in July 2020, where he was not in any photos, and the arrival of his first grandchild.

Princess Eugenie announced her son's name on Andrew's "birthday weekend", but no public comment has been made by the duke about his first grandson.

Watch: Princess Eugenie says she hopes her son will see world as place that can be changed