LONDON: Prince Andrew was urged on Thursday to speak to lawyers representing victims of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, after the royal announced he was quitting public life because of the scandal.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, has faced days of outrage since a television interview in which he defended his friendship with the disgraced US financier.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein, who was found dead in a New York prison in August while awaiting charges of trafficking minors.

As a growing number of organisations distanced themselves from the royal and his pet projects, he said he was cancelling public engagements because of the backlash. He said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

US lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents five women allegedly assaulted by Epstein, told the BBC that Andrew should speak to everyone probing the allegations — including her.

“All of the staff who work for Prince Andrew should come and give information and evidence and the documents should be turned over — emails, texts, calendars, phone logs, travel logs — so we can get to the bottom of this,” she said.

Bloom did not rule out approaching the prince directly to secure a sworn statement. “We believe that nobody is above the law and that everybody should have to answer questions if they have relevant information — and he clearly does have relevant information.”

Andrew’s announcement, which he said was approved by his mother and in which he belatedly expressed sympathy for Epstein’s victims, dominated British media for a fifth day.

Tabloid daily The Sun called the statement “a desperate attempt to fix the appalling failures of his TV interview over the Epstein scandal”. The Daily Mail said the claims, which have long cast a shadow over his duties, including as a special government trade representative, could do “serious damage” to the royal family.

Andrew’s decision to step down was taken after “crisis talks” between the monarch herself and her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, several newspapers reported.

The Epstein affair shows no sign of going away, as the BBC is expected to air more revelations from one of his victims in the coming days.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2019