Prince Andrew steps down from trade role
LONDON, July 22 — Prince Andrew has stepped down from his role as Britain’s roving trade ambassador, months after he was pilloried by the media for his friendship with a convicted US paedophile and having contacts with the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The 51-year-old prince, Queen Elizabeth’s second son, had been a special representative for a government body promoting British businesses abroad and seeking to attract foreign investment since 2001.
However, the former naval officer, who has the title the Duke of York, was heavily criticised over his friendship with New York financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was jailed in 2008 for child sex offences.
His alleged links to Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and the son of Tunisia’s ousted president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, also came under media scrutiny and led to calls from some politicians for his resignation.
“As the evolution of my role continues apace and in order to reflect the changes I have outlined, I have decided that the label I gave myself when I began this role of Special Representative has served its purpose and is no longer necessary to the work that I do today and, more importantly, in the future,” Andrew said in his 2011 annual review.
Media reports said Buckingham Palace had said the prince would continue overseas work to help British businesses.
“I would like to thank the Duke of York for the major contribution he has made over the last decade to UK trade and the huge support he has given to British businesses as the Special Representative for Trade and Investment,” Prime Minister David Cameron said.
“I am certain that he and others in the royal family will continue to support and promote British business interests both at home and overseas.”
Andrew, who divorced former wife Sarah Ferguson in 1996, has long been criticised by newspapers for going on lavish foreign trips and having a “playboy” lifestyle.
A royal source told Reuters in March the prince had met Saif al-Islam twice, and they were not friends, and that Andrew accepted he had been unwise to have associated with Epstein since his conviction. — Reuters