Prince Andrew 'highly unlikely' to return to royal duties, 'no negotiation of a new role' - report

"I am not sure there will ever be an opportunity for him to return."
"I am not sure there will ever be an opportunity for him to return." Photo credit: Getty.

Prince Andrew is "highly unlikely" to ever return to official royal duties, sources have told British media.

Prince Andrew, the Queen's son, stepped back from his duties for the "foreseeable future" last November following a disastrous BBC interview centred on his involvement with Epstein. He had also been accused of having sex with then-17-year-old Virginia Giuffre, which he vehemently denies. 

But in late October this year, reports surfaced that the Prince was plotting a royal return. He reportedly wanted to reframe the role he held so he could "serve his country". Royal insiders at the time, however, said there was "zero chance" that happening.

A new report from The Daily Mail on Saturday doubles down on that, with sources saying he will never return to official duties.

US authorities have repeatedly called for Prince Andrew to cooperate with their investigations into Epstein, who died in August 2019. His lawyers say he has attempted to, but the Americans have disputed this. 

The Daily Mail reports that even if those matters are resolved, Prince Andrew would likely stay on the outside. 

"Even if the duke were to resolve matters satisfactorily over [Epstein], there is still an issue about [his] lack of understanding over the seriousness of the situation and not accepting that the relationship was wrong," a "well-placed source" told The Daily Mail.

"I am not sure there will ever be an opportunity for him to return."

One insider said there is "no negotiation of a new role and there never will be". 

Someone close to the prince said his role "can only be seriously considered once the legal process in the US has been resolved and the Duke's side of the story properly explained".

"Until then, the duke is sensitive to the public mood and to the fact that the institution [of the monarchy] must come first."

In his statement last November, the Duke of York said his relationship with Epstein had "become a major disruption to my family's work" as well as charities he was involved with. 

"I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. 

"I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."

In October, The Mirror reported that the Queen was sympathetic to Prince Andrew, but that Prince Charles and Prince William wanted him kept away from public outings.