Canadian groups distance themselves from Prince Andrew
A prominent member of the Royal Family has little ground left to lose in Canada even as he faces fresh scrutiny and public rebukes closer to home.
Canadian organizations had begun severing ties with Prince Andrew long before Monday night's bombshell interview with a woman who said she had sex with the prince three times while underage and at the command of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
On Tuesday, the Queen did not include her disgraced second son as she greeted NATO leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at Buckingham Palace in London.
But Canadian organizations that once welcomed Andrew's patronage had begun distancing themselves from him in droves since his disastrous interview with BBC last month. The interview, in which the prince denied the allegations, caused public backlash after he failed to express concern for Epstein's victims, including the woman whose accusations triggered the latest round of criticism.
That woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, spoke out publicly on Monday during a BBC interview in which she described herself as a sex trafficking victim and alleged she slept with Prince Andrew three times while she was 17 years old.
But long before Giuffre's appearance on BBC Panorama, Canadian organizations that once called the prince a patron were severing ties in light of his own remarks.
"His Royal Highness issued a statement on November 20 declaring he has stepped down from all public duties," read a statement from the Sick Kids Foundation. "We believe this was important and appropriate for him to do. With that announcement, His Royal Highness is no longer in the role of Royal Patron to SickKids."
The statement went on to say the foundation, which funds Canada's largest children's hospital, was preparing to address the prince's ongoing connection to the organization at an upcoming board meeting before he opted to step out of the public spotlight.
At around the same time, Canada's Rideau Hall Foundation announced it would not be renewing an agreement with Pitch@Palace, an initiative started by Prince Andrew to help aspiring entrepreneurs.
"We will continue to support Canada's incredible entrepreneurs and look forward to other opportunities to celebrate and grow Canada's culture of innovation," read a statement issued by the foundation.
Several other Canadian organizations have reportedly ended their associations with the prince in the days after his BBC interview, including Lakefield College School, which has ended Prince Andrew's term as honorary chair of the school's foundation board. The prince attended the school for six months in his teens.
But the Prince is maintaining at least one title, according to Canada's Department of National Defence.
"As is the custom, the Duke of York holds the honorary title of Colonel-in-Chief of The Princess Louise Fusiliers, The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada and the Queen's York Rangers," the department said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Giuffre's BBC interview breathed fresh life into a scandal that has dogged the Royal Family for weeks.
Giuffre described how she was trafficked by Epstein beginning in 2001 and made to have sex with Andrew three times, including once in London.
"This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked, this is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guys' royalty," Giuffre told the program.
Andrew, 59, has categorically denied having sex with Giuffre and apologized for his association with Epstein, who died in prison in August in what New York City officials said was a suicide.
In the TV interview, Giuffre said she danced with Andrew at a London nightclub before having sex with him.
"It was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me," she said. "His sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere, I was just like grossed out from it, but I knew I had to keep him happy because that's what Jeffrey ... would have expected from me."
In his recent interview, Andrew said he had never met Giuffre. He said he had a medical condition that prevented him from sweating.
With files from the Associated Press
This story by the Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2019.