Queen's Son Quits Trade Role After Epstein Controversy

Jul 22 2011 | 11:29am ET

Britain's Prince Andrew is stepping down as the U.K.'s special representative for trade and investment in the wake of criticism of his relationship with former hedge fund manager and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein reportedly helped pay off the debts of the Duke of York's ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson. He also allegedly arranged for prostitutes to meet with Andrew, allegations the prince has denied, and reportedly "attended naked pool parties and was treated to massages by a harem of adolescent girls" at Epstein's Palm Beach, Fla., estate.

Epstein was released from a 13-month house arrest last year for two counts of soliciting prostitutes. He still faces a number of lawsuits filed by some of the 40 or so young women he allegedly paid to give him nude, sexually-charged massages, and a federal child-trafficking probe.

Buckingham Palace has denied that the prince's friendship with Epstein has anything to do with his decision to "relinquish his role as the United Kingdom's special representative." Instead, it noted that other royals have been involved with U.K. Trade and Investment in recent years, and that Andrew, "after a successful 10 years," wished to be more involved in other roles.

The prince "will undertake trade engagements if requested," the Palace said.

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