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Prince Andrew to step down from royal duties 'for the foreseeable future'

Prince Andrew is stepping down from public duties. Source: AAP

Prince Andrew has asked his mother, The Queen, for permission to step down from public duties.

Britain’s Prince Andrew said on Wednesday he was stepping down from public duties for the foreseeable future after being engulfed in a scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein.

Queen Elizabeth II's second son has been under pressure since a television interview broadcast Saturday in which he defended his links to the disgraced financier, who was found dead in prison in August.

An increasing number of organisations and initiatives backed by Andrew have said they were not renewing or would review their support because of the revelations.

Andrew, 59, said in an emailed statement he now recognised his links to Epstein had become a "major disruption" to the royal family and the charities and organisations associated with it.

"Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty (the Queen) if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission," he added.

"I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.

He  also expressed sympathy for the victims of the convicted sex offender and disgraced financier, saying he "hoped they could rebuild their lives."

"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."

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