London – Britain's Prince Andrew said on Wednesday he is stepping back from public duties with the queen's permission.
Andrew said it has become clear to him in recent days that his association with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has become a “major distraction” to the royal family’s work.
He said he regrets his association with the former US businessman and that he “deeply sympathises” with his victims.
The prince said his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, had given him permission to step back from royal duties.
Andrew has been heavily criticised for his performance in a TV interview on Saturday in which he failed to express concern for Epstein’s victims.