The chances of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, returning to public life after a year-long hiatus are in question as the royal finds himself embroiled in fresh controversy around Ghislaine Maxwell’s deposition.
The U.K.’s Sunday Times has reported that the Prince is plotting how he might return to more active duties in the future. “The duke is spending time working out how he can serve his country and support the monarchy in the future, and what else he might want to do with his life,” said the outlet, quoting a source who said the royal feels he has the support of his family.
However, the report also quotes a royal aide as saying, “While the hurdles around the Epstein case are still hanging over him, it will be difficult for him to represent the family in any capacity as his presence would overshadow the work of the monarchy.”
Elsewhere, U.K. newspaper The Telegraph reported on Monday that Buckingham Palace sources insist Prince Andrew can’t return to public duties until he has cleared his name.
In November 2019, Prince Andrew’s interview on a special edition of BBC’s “Newsnight” program saw Queen Elizabeth II’s second-youngest son quizzed at length about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and about allegations that he himself slept with Virginia Giuffre, who was a teenager at the time. Andrew withdrew from public life shortly after.
Prince Andrew’s possible return to public life could also depend on fresh revelations that could arise if the full text of a second deposition made by Epstein’s longtime confidante and ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell in 2016 come to light. Maxwell is currently in jail in connection with allegations of trafficking minors, including Giuffre. Her deposition, which was unsealed last week, is understood to have mentioned Prince Andrew.
Epstein died in August after hanging himself in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan as he waited to stand trial on sex trafficking charges.
The scandal surrounding Epstein has resulted in a number of documentary series detailing the case and featuring survivor testimonies. They include Netflix’s four-part series “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” and Lifetime’s four-part “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.”