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Prince Andrew resigns from London Met and Huddersfield

Image: Chris Allan, via Shutterstock

Royal steps down from university positions after outcry over links to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew has resigned from his role as patron of London Metropolitan University, the day after he stepped down as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield.

On 22 November, the university confirmed the Duke of York has quit as patron—a similar role to a university chancellor—with immediate effect. The university had initially said it would be “reviewing Prince Andrew’s position as patron” during a meeting of the board of governors on 26 November.

Prince Andrew has stepped back from royal duties in the wake of increased public scrutiny following his interview with the BBC’s Newsnight programme on 16 November. During the interview, the duke discussed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the New York financier who was found dead in his prison cell earlier this year.

Prince Andrew also denied allegations that in 2001 he had sex with Virginia Roberts—now Virginia Giuffre—who was 17 at the time, claiming he was at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking on the night in question.

A spokesman for London Met said: “Following the announcement that HRH the Duke of York is stepping back from public duties, the Duke has today resigned as the patron 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.”

It comes the day after Prince Andrew resigned as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield. The Yorkshire university initially threw its weight behind Prince Andrew but had taken a cooler tone after its students’ union passed a motion on 18 November calling on him to quit.

A spokesman for the University of Huddersfield said the university “would like to thank the duke for his work during his period as chancellor”, which lasted for four years from 2015. “Due to the circumstances and in discussion with the University, he has decided to step down immediately to allow the University to appoint a successor,” the spokesman said.

He added that Prince Andrew “has informed the university that ‘he continues to unequivocally condemn Jeffrey Epstein’s activities and regrets his ill-judged association with him’” and that he “‘deeply sympathises with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure’.”

The spokesman added: “The university would also like to express our deep sympathy to all of those victims and families that have been affected and we do hope that they are getting the support they need.”

A panel of students and staff will help choose a successor, and the process of appointing a new chancellor will begin at a council meeting on 27 November.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Royal Society, where Prince Andrew is a royal fellow, confirmed that the duke had not stepped down.

The spokesman said: “The Royal Society has a standard procedure it follows when there are questions raised regarding the conduct of fellows. This is outlined in our statutes. Each matter is handled on a case-by-case basis and we keep the policies and procedures relating to this process under constant review.”