Prince Andrew's charity office is leaving Buckingham Palace, the royal press office confirmed on Saturday. The move comes one week after the royal, Queen Elizabeth II's second son, gave a disastrous live interview on the BBC about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender who allegedly ran an international sex-trafficking operation.
"The Duke will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of Buckingham Palace," the palace said in a statement. "We recognize there will be a period of time while this transition takes place."
The office of Pitch@Palace, Andrew's charity that connects entrepreneurs with companies, was located inside the palace, but will now continue unaffiliated and simply be called "Pitch," the Telegraph reports. The charity's financial backers have been abandoning ship since news of the royal's relationship with Epstein became public. Barclays, KPMG, Standard Chartered, and Inmarsat, have all pulled out, the London Times reports.
Esptein owned a money management firm that purported to only take on clients with at least $1 billion in wealth. A New Yorker investigation found that Epstein secured at least $7.5 million in donations to MIT's influential Media Lab from clients Bill Gates and Leon Black.
Epstein died in a Manhattan prison in August and his death has been ruled a suicide. Andrew stayed in Epstein's home after he was convicted of sexual offenses in 2008. The royal has since apologized for staying with Epstein after his conviction, but has continued to face intense scrutiny over the relationship and his alleged sexual assault made possible by Epstein.
Virginia Giuffre, 35, has claimed she was sex-trafficked by Epstein to Andrew, among other powerful men, and sexually assaulted by the royal when she was 17-years-old. Andrew has adamantly— or ever meeting Giuffre —despite a photo that shows Andrew with his arm around a young Giuffre.
During his BBC interview, Andrew defended his relationship with Epstein and failed to express sympathy for his many alleged victims. Public scrutiny will likely intensify after Giuffre's own interview with the BBC airs on Monday Dec. 2, The Associated Press reports.